Several months ago I was at the post office with my eight-year-old son Jonathan and we were standing in line and this man walks in and gets in the back of the line and I didn't pay that much attention to him. After a couple of minutes he gets out of line and he comes up towards me and he sticks out his hand and he goes, Lon, Lon Solomon, hey, it's great to see you.
Well, I didn't recognize this guy from Adam. So I stuck out my hand and shook his hand and he said, how you doing? I said, well, I'm doing fine. How's your wife doing? She's fine. How are all the children doing? Well, they're fine.
Everybody's fine. And I'm standing there going, oh, who is this guy? I don't have a clue who this guy is. And my Jonathan was standing down there kind of staring up at the two of us and all of a sudden he blurts out in a real loud voice, hey, dad, who is this man? So I said to the man, I said, look, I'm so embarrassed.
I feel terrible, but I forgot your name. Would you mind telling my son Jonathan what your name is? And he said, no, sure. And he says, Jonathan, my name's George.
That's all he said. I was waiting for the last name. He didn't give a last name. And I thought, oh, no, you know, I still don't know who this guy is. And I looked down and I saw John sucking in and I knew something else was coming. But before I could stop him, he said to me, hey, dad, where do you know George from?
So this man looks at Jonathan. He went, oh, Jonathan, he said, your dad and I, we go way back. We go way back together. He said, isn't that right, Lon? And I went, yeah, yeah, we do way back together, John. And so Jonathan immediately says to me, way back where, dad?
Where do you go back to with this man? And suddenly the postal clerk yells out next. And that was us.
See, you don't think God still does miracles? I said, George, look, it's really great to meet you. God bless you. Good to see you. Got to go. Good to see you. Thanks for saying hi to me. We walk over. We did our business.
We're walking out. Jonathan says, dad, who is that guy? I said, Jonathan, I don't have a clue who this guy is. But when you see I'm dying, son, don't keep asking questions. I don't think he knew what I was talking about.
God bless him. But it was terrible. And, you know, I got to thinking sometimes not knowing who a person is can be really embarrassing. You know what I'm saying? Sometimes not knowing who a person is can be expensive. I mean, if it's a business contact and you don't know the right person at the right time and know who it is, it can cost you a lot of money. Sometimes it could, I suppose, even be dangerous.
If you didn't know it was a criminal or some person that was dangerous, you could end up in a lot of trouble. But I guess when it comes to knowing a person's true identity, nowhere are the stakes any higher than when it comes to who Jesus Christ is. And this morning in our passage, Jesus has a question for his disciples and a question for all of us. He says to them, Who do you say I am? That's his question this morning.
We want to try to answer that and then ask ourselves the question. So what right now, rather than reading it all to you, let me show you how it may have very well happened in time and space back in Jesus's day when the conversation we're going to read in a minute took place for our scripture reading this morning. I direct your attention to the screen. Who do the crowds say I am? Some say that you are John the Baptist. Others say that you were Elijah, while others say that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.
What about you? Who do you say I am? You are God's Messiah. You shall tell no man of this. The Son of man must suffer much and be rejected. He will be put to death.
But three days later will be raised to life. They know when it comes to who Jesus Christ is, the world has never suffered from any lack of suggestions. For example, according to the Jews, Jesus Christ was a man, perhaps a great man, perhaps a rabbi, maybe even a prophet. According to the Muslims, Jesus Christ was one of God's many prophets of whom Mohammed was chief.
According to the Mormons, Jesus Christ was a man who worked his way up to being a God just like you and I can work our way up to being a God. According to the Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Christ was an angel, the first created being in the universe. According to the Unitarians, Jesus Christ was a nice guy. According to the Eastern mystics, Jesus Christ was an enlightened soul, a guru, if you will.
According to the average secularized American today, Jesus Christ was a great moral and ethical philosopher. And according to Albert Schweitzer and many so-called Bible scholars like him, Jesus Christ, as the Bible describes him, probably never even existed. And would you notice, in direct contrast to every single one of these theories, we have the answer that Peter gave. Peter, when Jesus said to him, who do you say I am? Stepped forward and said, you are the Messiah, the son of the living God. For once, Peter got something right, for once.
Now what was Peter really saying? Well, the Greek word Christos, which we translate Christ, and the Hebrew word Mashiach, which we translate Messiah, both mean the very same thing. They mean anointed one. And when you look in the Old Testament and in historic Judaism, you find that there was an expectation in historic Judaism of a personal Messiah coming to the nation of Israel.
The Old Testament says that this person would be born in Bethlehem, that he would be a direct descendant of King David, that he would come with the power to do great miracles, that he would be rejected by the Jewish people, that he would die to pay for the sins of mankind, and since he would be God in the flesh, death would not be able to hold him, but that on the third day he would rise from the dead. And this is the person that Peter identifies Jesus Christ as being. And he said, well, Lon, I've always heard that the disciples were the ones that made this up, that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah, but his disciples took that and they perpetrated that. Don't you believe that?
I don't know who told you that, but they're completely wrong. First of all, Jesus accepts right here Peter's identification. Would you notice he says in verse 21 of Luke chapter 9, he says that Jesus strictly warned them not to tell anybody. So there is included there the understanding that Peter was right. He didn't correct Peter. He said, Peter, you're right.
But just at this point, I don't want you broadcasting that right at this moment. If there's any doubt in your mind that Jesus really did claim this, let me show you a couple of other passages. Keep a finger here in Luke 9.
We're coming back. Flip back to Matthew 26. If you're using our copy of the Bible, we're going to page 704. Matthew Chapter 26, verse 63. And here in Matthew 26, Jesus is in front of the high council of Israel, the Sanhedrin. And the high priest himself is going to speak to Jesus. Verse 63. And the high priest said to him, I charge you under oath by the living God.
Tell us if you are the Messiah, the son of God. And Jesus replied, Yes, it is, as you say. I don't know how you get any clearer than that. That seems pretty clear to me. But one more passage.
Let's go back the other direction. Stay in Luke 9 and let's go to John Chapter 4. That's page 753. If you're following in our Bible, John Chapter 4. This is the story of the woman at the well. And in this story, Jesus sits down to talk to this woman.
And here's what she says. John Chapter 4, verse 25. Then the woman said, I know that the Messiah, who's also called Christ, is going to come. And when he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared, I who speak to you, am he. My dear friends, for us today, 2000 years later, to sit around and think that we can decide better what Jesus Christ was really saying than the people who were alive and listening to him and heard him. That's preposterous. These people knew exactly what Jesus was claiming.
And that's exactly what they recorded. He was claiming to be the Messiah. He was claiming to be God in the flesh. He was claiming to be the one who would come to earth to give his life on the cross, to pay for your sin and pay for my sin and then rise from the dead.
The third day in order to validate his claim to be everything that he said he was. Now you have the freedom and I have the freedom to reject him. If you don't want him, you can reject him. If you're not willing to accept his definition of himself, you can reject him.
You have that right. But you and I do not have the right to redefine him. He defined himself and he defined himself as Messiah and Lord and God in the flesh. You can reject it, but you can't change it.
That's how he defined himself. When I was 21 years old and a college student at the University of North Carolina, I made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior to become a Christian. And I want to tell you, the reason that I made that decision had nothing to do with some affection for the church. I'd never been in a church in my life and I had no affection for the church. It had nothing to do with the fact that I believed in creationism.
I didn't believe creationism or most of the other things the Bible said about creation. It didn't have anything to do with the fact that I like Christmas carols. I did like Christmas carols, but that's not why I made a decision to give my life to Jesus Christ. I made a decision to give my life to him for one reason and one reason only. And that reason was that I had become fully convinced by reading the New Testament that Jesus Christ was everything that he had claimed to be, that he was who and what he claimed to be.
And that's the only reason for anybody to become a Christian. I had a lady in my office this week, a Jewish lady, real sweet lady. She's a divorcee.
She has a couple of kids. And she said, you know, I've been going to church. I said, we don't know each other, do we?
She said, no, we don't know each other. I said, she said, but I've been going to church. I said, that's great.
She said, I haven't been going here. I'm going to another church. I said, well, that's good, too, she said. But the reason I've been going is I feel like I need a moral framework for my children and I feel like I need a safe place for my family. And frankly, I go to church and the people treat each other real nice.
And I like being around people who treat each other real nice. So I've been going to church and thinking about maybe ought to become a Christian and join the church. And she said, so one of my friends told me that you were Jewish and you were over here and I ought to come talk to you. So I'm here to talk to you about maybe becoming a Christian or joining the church or whatever.
So I said, ma'am, I'm really glad you came to talk to me and I'm really glad you're going to church. And there's nothing wrong with that. But you know what? None of those things you've just mentioned are the real issue. The real issue is whether or not Jesus Christ is the Jewish Messiah, whether he's your Messiah. And if he is, then you need to surrender your life to him and become one of his children by faith.
And if he's not, then my advice to you is blow him off and blow the church off, because the church is absolutely no good if Jesus Christ didn't know who he says he is. So she said to me, well, you know, she said, I can sort of believe there's a God. But as Jewish people, we were taught that Jesus Christ was not the Messiah. We were taught that he was just a great prophet. And I'm having a real hard time with this thing about Jesus. And I called her by name and I said, ma'am, let me say one thing to you. Whatever Jesus Christ is, he's not a great prophet. She looked at me. I said, because great prophets don't lie. She said, I guess I could agree with that.
I said, sure. Jesus Christ claimed to be God in the flesh, the Messiah of Israel. Now, if he's telling the truth, he's a whole lot more than just a great prophet like the Jews say he is. If he's lying, then he's a lunatic and a fraud. But either way, a great prophet will not sell. He's one or the other, but he's not just a great prophet. What you have to do is get a copy of the New Testament, start reading it and decide for yourself, is Jesus who he really claimed to be or isn't he? And everything else flows out of that decision that you have to make. Who do you say Jesus Christ is?
And if you're like this lady, maybe you're here this morning and you're like this lady, something's missing in your life. You're interested in checking out this thing called Christianity. We're glad you're here.
I'm glad you're checking it out. But don't you dare get confused about what the foundational issue is. It's not this church or Lon's preaching or how nice we treat each other or anything else. The foundational issue is who is Jesus Christ? Is he who he claimed to be? Is he the Messiah of Israel? Is he God in the flesh?
Did he die on the cross as God in the flesh for the sins of mankind? That's the foundational issue. And you're ready to become a Christian, my friend, when you can look somebody, anybody right smack in the eyes and say with conviction to them the way Peter said, the way I said 20 years ago, that you really believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Messiah of Israel, like he claimed, and that he's your Messiah. That's when you're ready to become a Christian.
That's the issue. So let me ask you, who do you say Jesus is? You've got to have an answer to that question.
No matter what it is, that's a question you need to answer. You say, well, now, wait a minute, Lon. I agree with you. I believe Jesus is the Messiah. I believe he's God in the flesh. So where's the so what here for me?
Oh, I'm so glad you asked because I've got it for you. You knew I did. Listen, if Jesus Christ is who he really says he is. And if you say that you believe this, then there's a second decision that you have to make. You made the right first decision, but there's a second one. And the second decision is the decision all about discipleship.
It's a decision all about lordship. And Jesus is going to go on right here in Luke, chapter nine, to talk about that. Let's go back right in Luke, chapter nine. He says, now, Peter, you made the right answer to the first question. Good for you, Peter. Good for you, Peter. You get a gold star. God bless you.
Get an A. But there's a second question that comes out of the right answer to the first question. And the second question is all about discipleship. Because, you see, Messiah ship demands lordship.
Let's look and see. Verse 21. Jesus warned them not to tell anybody. And then he said, verse 22. The son of man must suffer many things and he must be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. And he must be killed.
And he must, on the third day, be raised to life. Now, if you're following through the gospels, you'll realize that this is the very first time Jesus has ever given them this information. Now, you already know this because you read the end of the book, but they haven't read the end of the book. They don't know this. This is the very first time they've ever heard this. And they're shocked.
They're completely knocked for a loop. In fact, Matthew 16 says that Peter actually called the Lord aside and rebuked him. He said, Hey, Jesus, come here, come here, come here, come here.
Jesus puts his arm around him, says, what do you do and go around saying stuff like that, Lord? That's depressing. You're going to depress all of us. I mean, life is tough enough without you saying depressing stuff like that.
Don't say depressing stuff like that, Lord. We want up stuff. OK, we want up stuff. That's why we're following you.
Give us good stuff. And your God and his God, you don't have to let this happen. You can deal with this. But you see, Peter missed the key word in the verse. Did you catch the key word? Say no, Lon, I missed it.
Listen to it again. The son of man, verse 22, must suffer many things. And he must be rejected by the elders and he must be killed. And on the third day, he must be raised to life. You get the key word that time?
Sure you did, because I helped you. He must. The key word is the word must. The Jesus must do this. Didn't matter what Peter thought. So what if Peter didn't like it? Peter didn't like it.
Who cared? Jesus said, I still must do it. Why must I do it? Because it's the will of God for my life.
That's why I must do it. It's the will of God for my life. That's why in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, Lord, not my will, but yours be done. Remember, the whole point here is that because it was the will of God, Jesus must do it, whether he wanted to do it or not. Jesus said in John Chapter six, I did not come down from heaven to do my own will, but to do the will of him who sent me.
Now, friend, understand what he's saying. He's saying that even as the second person in the Trinity, the second person in the Godhead, living as a man on this earth, he was living in complete surrender to the lordship of God, the father. And if it was the will of God, the father, for him to do something, then he had to do it.
He was committed to that. And what Jesus is trying to say to Peter right here is, Peter, you got the first question right. I am the Messiah.
Now there's a second question. And that question is, how much are you willing to let me become lord of your life in light of your confession that I'm the Messiah? Look at what Jesus says, verse twenty three. Then he said to them, if anybody wants to come after me, if anybody wants to be my follower, that person must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it. And whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it if a man gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Now, what Jesus is trying to do here is to define discipleship.
He's trying to help Peter understand. All right, if I'm really the Messiah, then what are the terms for following me, Peter? You say you want to follow me?
Here are the terms. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. The same way I just explained to you that I've taken up my cross and I'm following God the Father.
You understand the connection? Now, what does it mean to take up our cross? Does that mean every Christian has to go be crucified on a cross the way Jesus was?
No, no, not at all. The cross here stands for what Jesus just explained to them up above, the way he had subjected himself to the will of God regardless of the cost, regardless of whether he wanted to do it or not. He was committed to going to the cross because he was committed to following the will of God wherever it took him.
And so in that sense, what the cross stands for is our willingness to follow the will of God regardless of the cost, wherever it takes us, because we're committed to the lordship of Christ, just the way Jesus Christ was. You understand that? And Jesus said to do that, you've got to deny yourself.
Say, now, Lon, I've always wondered about that. What does that mean? Does that mean I stand up and say I'm not Lon Solomon, never heard of Lon Solomon, don't have a clue who he is? Is that denying yourself? No. Actually, there have been some times where I've gotten myself in trouble that I wish I could have done that.
Lon Solomon, never heard of him, must live next door, never heard of the guy. But this is what Jesus is talking about. The issue in denying yourself here is the issue of who's on the throne of your life. Who's running your life? Is it you or the Messiah?
Is it you or the person you've just confessed that you believe is the Lord of the universe? Is it your will or the will of God? You see, for the true disciple, my friend, self-will has abdicated the throne.
And Jesus Christ has begun to sit on the throne instead, along with the will of God. It's all a matter of whether or not we're sitting on the throne directing our lives, or whether Jesus Christ and the will of God are sitting on the throne and directing our lives. And to deny self means that we say it doesn't matter what I want to do. It doesn't matter what I feel like doing. It doesn't matter where I want to go. It doesn't matter the way I want to see things. It doesn't matter what kind of job I want to have.
It doesn't matter what my dreams are for my life. I am willing to take all of those things and I'm willing to deny them and follow whatever it is that God has chosen for me, because I'm under the lordship of Christ. And no matter what it costs me, even if it costs me a cross in my life, I'm willing to do it. Jesus says these are the terms of discipleship. And Peter, since you made a right answer to the first question, I got a second one. Not are you willing to believe I'm the Messiah, but are you willing to be a disciple?
These are the terms. Now, two things I want you to notice here. Number one, we're talking discipleship, not salvation. Don't get that mixed up. If you do, you'll really get your theology wrapped around an axle, okay? Nobody goes to heaven or gets eternal life because they take up their cross daily and follow Jesus.
You get to heaven and get eternal life because you trust what Christ did on the cross in paying for your sins. That's how you get to heaven. That's how you join the family of God. We're not talking here about joining the family of God. We're talking about people who've already joined the family of God to whom Jesus is saying, now are you ready to join the army of Christ?
There's a difference. Are you ready to enlist in the army? You can be a member of the family without enlisting in the army. It's a volunteer army. There's no draft.
It's all volunteer. Look what Jesus said, verse 23, if anyone wants to come after me. If you don't want to, you don't have to. Second thing I want to point out to you is that when we do volunteer to be recruits in the army of Jesus Christ, to put self off the throne and put the will of God on the throne and take up our cross, wherever the will of God may take us, when we make that kind of lordship decision, that's when we begin to discover what real meaning in life is all about. Look what Jesus said, verse 24. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for me will save it. Now isn't this an interesting paradox, huh? What Jesus is saying is the more you live for self, the less self-benefits. But the more you're willing to live for Jesus Christ and for others, the more self-benefits.
You follow the paradox, it doesn't make sense, but it works. I lived the first 21 years of my life unashamedly for self. Everything self wanted to do, I did.
No matter what it was, I did it. You say, well, Lon, you couldn't have done all that much in 21 years. Oh, yes, I could, Buster. I can't think of much you could name that I didn't do. You say, well, I can think of a whole lot. Okay, well, let's not do it now.
Meet me out in the foyer and we'll talk about this. But you say, I can think of drugs, did them. I can think of alcohol, did them. I can think of all kinds of sex, did them. I can think of fraternity party life, did them.
I can think of this and that and the other, did them, did them, did them, did them. Been there, done that. And at 21 years old, I was the most miserable, sad, unfulfilled human being you could ever imagine.
Why? Jesus said, whoever wants to preserve his own life by doing everything his way, he loses his life. There's no meaning and purpose in that. Folks, the most miserable people I have ever met. The people who are living the most empty, barren, wasted lives are the people who are living it for themselves. That's all they're living for. You would think movie stars and some of these other people would be the happiest people in the world. They've got money, they've got fame, they've got fortune.
Everybody knows them. They're miserable people. But life began for me when at 21 years old, I decided, as Jesus said right here, to lose my life for Christ. To lose my life to the will of God. That's when living began for me.
That's when I began to experience vitality and purpose and contentment and satisfaction in life. Because God promises to supply those commodities to anybody who will lose their life to serve him. How's your life going, huh, as a Christian? Listen, you can live it for you. God says that's an option.
You've got it. But I'll tell you what, you live your life for you. You're going to be a miserable human being. You lose your life to the will of God and serving people and serving Christ. And God will give you more satisfaction with your life than you know what to do with. Why did Jesus say this?
Well, because he wants to reassure everybody that if you sign up for his army, you'll never regret it. You'll never regret it. And I never have. It's been 20-some years and I never have. I wouldn't go back to living the other way for anything.
It was a horrible way to live. Well, what this leaves us with this morning is two big questions. Question number one is the question Jesus asked Peter. Who do you say I am?
And every one of us here needs to have an answer to that. If you answer it the way Peter did and say you are the Messiah, you are the son of the living God, then Jesus has a second question for us. And that question is, where do you stand on my invitation to become a disciple?
Where do you stand on my invitation to deny self-will and enthrone me as the Lord of your life? You say, well, Lon, how can I tell where I stand? I mean, how do I measure my lordship quotient or whatever?
Well, I can answer that. It's real simple. You can tell how fully you've committed yourself to the lordship of Christ, how real it is in your life this way, by how you respond to the will of God when it cuts across your comfort zone. See, anybody can be under the lordship of Christ when the lordship of Christ takes you where you want to go anyway.
Sure, that's no problem. That's fun. That's easy. But, hey, when the lordship of Christ and the will of God takes you somewhere you don't want to go, you don't want to be, you don't want to experience, that's when you find out who's really on the throne in your life. I was out in San Francisco last weekend, and I was with Moishe Rosen. Now, Moishe Rosen is a personal friend of mine, but I say this has nothing to do with my friendship with him. I believe that Moishe Rosen, as a single individual, has done more to change the face of Jewish evangelism than any man who has lived in this century.
And I'll say that without apology. Jewish evangelism today would not be where it is, and it's in some great places, if it wasn't for the life of one man named Moishe Rosen. Moishe came to Christ in the mid-50s as a very young man in Denver, and he was selling cemetery plots.
I don't know why that struck me as humorous. He told us this story. It's a story I'd never heard before from him. But he was selling cemetery plots. Now, I thought that was humorous, and, you know, we Jews, we can sell anything, but cemetery plots is too much. And so, anyway, he was selling cemetery plots, and he had four people working for him who showed up, and you were in deep grief. They wouldn't take you to the $200 plot that was out there.
They would always take you to the $1,000 plots, and they would take advantage of people. So he fired those four people, and he hired four seminary students part-time who were going to Denver Seminary. And I hope as I say this, I don't get cemetery and seminary mixed up, so pray for me. But anyway, these guys back then, Moishe said, if you made 80 cents an hour working part-time, that was a lot of money in the late 50s, and these guys were pulling down hundreds of dollars a week, a week now, making commission on selling cemetery plots. One day, he said, he handed a check to one of these students, you know, for 100 or whatever it was, dollars, and the student turned to him, and he said, Moishe, he said, you know, you need to get on with serving God. You can't sell cemetery plots the rest of your life.
You need to find out what the will of God is for your life, Moishe Rosen, and you need to go do it and forget about selling cemetery plots. Well, it's interesting that Rosen actually had an offer at that time to go on the staff with American Board of Missions to the Jews and become a missionary to Jewish people. But he hadn't taken it yet. He hadn't made up his mind, and he said to this seminary student, he said, well, you know, I've got this offer. He said, but I want you to know, if I take this offer, you lose your job. You lose that paycheck I just gave you. You lose the kind of income that you've been having here.
You really want me to go take that opportunity? And he said, that seminary student, whose name he still remembers and who he still keeps in touch with, looked him in the eyes and said, Moishe, it doesn't matter about my paycheck. It doesn't matter about my income.
It doesn't matter about my job. The only thing that matters is that you do the will of God for your life, Moishe. God will take care of me. You go do the will of God for your life. And so Moishe Rosen quit selling cemetery plots and went on to change the face of evangelism across the world for Jewish people. Aren't you glad that seminary student didn't have self-will sitting on the throne and talk Moishe out of leaving cemetery business? Aren't you glad that Christ was sitting on the throne of that seminary student's life instead of self?
Because if self had been on the throne, he'd have said, oh, I think you ought to stay here a little longer, at least till I get through with school. Then I think you ought to go do the will of God. And when I heard that story, I said, I'm taking that story back to McLean because that story is where Jesus Christ wants us in our hearts.
Friend, let me ask you a question. If you're a Christian, where are you convinced that the will of God has you that cuts across your comfort zone? Maybe God has you in a job that you hate or he has you working for a boss that you can't stand or he's got you single and you want to be married so bad you can taste it.
But God hadn't let that happen yet. Or maybe there's health problems in your family and you're so angry. And so you're so upset about that and you hate it being the way it is, but it's the way it is. Or maybe you've got conflict and stress in your family relationships, or maybe God's directing you to move geographically. And you don't want to move geographically.
Or maybe you've already moved here and you hate it here. Well, we're glad you're here, but we understand. Where is it that God in his will has cut across your comfort zone? My question to you is, are you willing to be a disciple in that area?
This is a great chance to display your discipleship, a great chance to live out your commitment to lordship. And why should you deal with this area where you don't like the way things are going? Why should you keep on going? Why should you embrace it? And why should you thank God for it? And why should you keep obeying God in it? There's only one reason I can give you. And that is you've made up your mind to be a disciple and your Lord has asked you to do this. That's the only reason.
There is no other reason. Some of you were here a few years ago when we had a big church split back in February 1991. We had a big vote of confidence on me staying as the pastor and we lost hundreds of people. And it was a big mess. If you were here, you know about it.
If you don't, it's all right now. But it was a horrible situation and had been for several years leading up to that. The key issue was me. And I knew that everybody else knew that some people wanted me to stay. Some people wanted me to go. And there was all kinds of church politics that was backbiting.
There was undercutting. There was gossip. I mean, it was a miserable situation and it was very difficult for me emotionally. I tried to leave here. I had feelers out for jobs all over the place.
Well, not actually all over the place. The only two places I wanted to go were California and Colorado. So I had job feelers out all over California and Colorado. And I couldn't get anybody to offer me a job doing anything.
I mean, I would have done almost anything. Nobody would offer me a job. I had all kinds of job offers in the years before and I've had job offers since.
But in that little window, I couldn't get anybody to offer me a job out there. And finally, I had to conclude God didn't want me going anywhere. We had a gal in town this weekend interviewing for our staff. And we went out and we were talking and I told her a little bit about this. And she looked right at me and she said, Lon, in light of all that was going on then and all the difficulty that was there, why did you stay here? And I looked her right in the eyes and I said, the reason I stayed at McLean Bible Church through those difficult times is because I became convinced it was the will of God. That's the only reason I became convinced it was the will of God for me. Now, I'm glad I stayed.
I'm tickled pink. I stayed. I'm glad God led me here. But I'll tell you what, I wanted to get out of here so bad. I didn't know what to do because I was dying.
It was horrible. Let me tell you something. God never takes you any place, no matter how hard it is to get there, but that you're not glad he got you where he got you. There's a reward on the other side to every act of discipleship and every act of lordship, friends. And if you're right in the middle of one where I mean you're yelling and kicking and screaming and fighting and clawing and scratching because you don't want to be there. Let me just tell you, this is a great chance to decide who's on the throne of your life. And if you'll let Jesus Christ work his will in your life, even though it cuts across your comfort zone, Jesus Christ will reward you and you'll be glad you did.
So this is the issue. Are you a disciple or aren't you? Say, Lon, I got to be honest with you. Yeah, I got a little of me on the throne, a little of him on the throne. Okay, that's fair. But are you serious about getting more of you off the throne and more of him on? That's what this is all about. May God help you do that. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I want to thank you for the word of God this morning. And for those of us here who are still checking out this thing called Christianity, I pray that you would bring them to the point this morning that they would be willing to answer the question, Who do you say that I am? With the right answer that you are the Messiah, the Son of God. Lord, bring people to that point, I pray.
And once we're there, bring us to the second point where you want all of us to get. And that is to a commitment to discipleship on your terms, not on our terms. A commitment to lordship, a commitment to the will of God being on the throne, not self will.
And Father, thank you for your promise that even though we may go kicking and screaming and fighting and clawing and scratching and yelling along with you, that whenever we'll go with you, we're always glad we went. Lord Jesus, I pray for Christians here who are struggling with the will of God for their lives right now. They don't like where they are. They don't like what the will of God has meant for them. They want out, but they still sense it's the will of God. Help them this morning, Father, to purify their commitment to the lordship of Christ and agree to follow you wherever you're taking them, even as Jesus followed you to the cross. Because we're disciples, and this is what our Lord has asked us to do. Change our lives by what we've heard you this morning, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 12:40:58 / 2023-05-23 12:56:59 / 16