Category Archives: Sermon Review

Overcomers: Don’t worry…be happy

I know, it’s not Tuesday morning, but I’ve had a bit of a down week after the activities of Easter weekend. Plus it has been that God has filled my time this week with unforeseen but very welcome interactions with some people. I once heard a pastor talk about how you should never fill you schedule more than 80% full because you can be certain that God will fill the other 20%. While he was talking to pastors at the time, I believe this truth should extend to all Christ-followers, especially if you follow him expecting him to interfere with your life. I didn’t have much on my agenda this week, and I think God has used that to bring some interactions into my life this week. And they have been wonderful. If we plan ourselves too tight we leave no or little room for God to direct us. Just a side thought for this week.

Easter weekend. Good Friday “Way of the Cross” walk and community service. Easter Sunday early morning worship time, followed by a continental fellowship and our 10:30 service. A full time and all of it so very worth-while. But the focus of this blog is to review the sermon from Sunday. To that end, we looked at Revelation 2:8-11, Jesus’ letter to the church at Smyrna. Smyrna was a persecuted church, and it needed encouragement, which is what Jesus gives them.

Sermon Big Idea:
The Biblical cure for worry is perspective. All things in this life pale in comparison to the eternal glory that is waiting for us when we believe in Jesus. That sounds very pastory and full of Christianese doesn’t it. Let’s try it this way: Jesus is waiting for us in heaven with eternal life in his hand. When he hands us that gift, the worst of the things that we experienced in this life will fade into the blissful abyss of forgetfulness.

Sermon Points:

  • We all worry. Some worse than others, but we all worry.
  • Worry is a useless activity, but how do we get free from it?
  • The Christians at Smyrna knew what suffering and worry was. They were severely persecuted by both the Romans and the Jews.
  • Jesus encourages these Christians by providing them with perspective: that even if they suffer to the point of death, the crown of life is waiting for them.
  • We need to recognize that everything we worry about here in this world is nothing in the eternal life that waits for us.
  • No matter what we face in this life, none of it can touch us in the life to come.
  • Not even the very fires of the second death (Hell)
  • The truth of this claim comes in the truth of what we celebrate on Easter Weekend. That Jesus died our deaths to pay for our rebellion against God AND he conquered even the power of death when he rose from the grave.
  • “Cast your worries and cares on God, for he cares for you.” That care is not just care in this life, but ultimate care in the life to come.

Follow-up Questions:
What do you worry about? Do you trust God with it? Even more importantly, do you see that worry in it’s correct light, in the light of the life that is waiting for us when we believe in the victory Jesus secured for us as our ultimate Passover sacrifice?

Questions for families with children:
Ask your children what they worry about and why. Then help them pray about it and ask God to take their worry from them.

Can’t Win

Have you ever felt that you just can’t win for losing? That no matter what you do, why you do it or when you do it, you fail to come out ahead. Certainly there are many things in life that can get to us, can discourage and even defeat us. But the Bible teaches us that when we believe in Jesus we are victorious. How do we reconcile these two truths? Simple, we read John 16:33. Jesus says “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Two truths reconciled. In Jesus we have peace; in the world we will have trouble. The peace we have in Jesus wins out because he has overcome the world. The real trick is learning to live in that truth. To live as if our King and Saviour has already overcome and made us overcomers. 

Sermon Big Idea:
Those who overcome are promised eternity with Jesus in Paradise.

Sermon Points:

  • John 1:1-5 Jesus is the light shining in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome him.
  • Because Jesus is victorious, we are victorious through him. (Revelation 5:9-10)
  • Jesus tells us to take heart because he has overcome. Take heart means “Cheer up!”
  • In this world of trouble, we sometimes need something to help us “cheer up” to see the bright side, to remind us that we are overcomers.
  • Jesus’ letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3 have promises for us that help us “take heart” when things seem bleak.
  • Revelation 2:1 – displays Jesus as the one who holds the church in his hand, but who also walks among the churches, meaning he is present and active (how encouraging!)
  • Revelation 2:2-4 – Jesus is pleased with the Ephesian church because of their labour, their endurance and their commitment to the truth.
  • Revelation 2:5-6 – Jesus is displeased because the church has lost its “fine flush of enthusiastic love”, for Jesus and for one another.
  • Revelation 2:7 – Jesus promises the right to eat of the tree of life which is in God’s paradise to those who overcome.
  • We lost the right to eat from the tree when Adam and Even rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden.
  • Jesus redeemed that right when he lived and died obediently, and he gives that right to us.
  • Paradise is the place where we will share perfect fellowship and communion with God, where we will once again walk with God in the cool of the evening.
  • What is Jesus promising here? Life forever in the presence and in the company of our Lord.

Follow-up questions:
Take some time pondering, meditating on this promise. How would God use this to encourage you, to help you “take heart”. Is there something claiming victory over you in your life that God wants to free you from? Take some time to ask the Holy Spirit to show you these things.

Questions for families with small children:
Spend time with your child talking about paradise, about heaven. Ask them what their picture of heaven is, and what they think it will be like to be there. Their answer may surprise and encourage you!

Overcomers

Have you ever taken a moment to consider what the Bible means when it talks about Christians as “those who overcome”? It’s all over the place in the Bible. Some verses talk about us as being victorious, others talk about what we are victorious over, and still others talk about how we are victorious. On Sunday, we began a journey through that very topic.

The one thing that is critical to understand as we begin this journey together is this: our victory is a stated fact. It is a stated fact because it has been given to us by Jesus. It is his victory, but it is a victory that he shares with us. Because of that truth, we can live and breathe in the words of Romans 8:37 “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”

nikao. It is a Greek word that appears 28 times in the New Testament, and it means “to overcome” or “be victorious”; and it is used quite a few of those 28 times to talk about Christians.

While we will talk about Jesus as the victor, I wonder how many of us have come to the firm and absolute conclusion that

Sermon Big Idea:
Because Jesus was victorious in his life, his death and his resurrection, and is victorious still, those who believe in him are “overcomers” as well.

Sermon Points:

  • ύπερνικάω (hupernikao).
    • ύπερ (huper) means more, over and above, super
    • νικάω (nikao) means to overcome, to conquer.
  • those who believe in Jesus are “super-conquerors”.
  • This word talks about someone who has not just won or defeated an adversary, but has done so in such a way that there is no question of their superiority or their right to the victory.
  • We come from a heritage of overcomers (Joshua/Jericho, David/Goliath, Moses/Pharaoh)
  • We are overcomers (Luke 10:19, 1 John 5:4-5)
  • Romans 8:35-39 Paul reiterates that NOTHING can overcome us, not even death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
  • It is Jesus’ victory that has been given to us (Psalm 20:6, 1 John 4:4)
  • Revelation 12:11 says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, but that we also continue overcoming through the word of our testimony, by living victoriously for Jesus.
  • A spiritual battle still rages around us, a battle we are expected to participate in, a battle that we CAN participate in because we are overcomers in Christ.
  • It can be a hard fight, a discouraging fight, a never-ending fight.
  • We must remember that we are victorious because Jesus is already victorious.

Follow-up questions:
Are there any areas in your life that you feel “beaten” in? Ask God to help you understand how you can be victorious even in those areas.

Questions for families with small children:
Talk to your children about the images of Jesus as a warrior, as God being our shield and deliverer. Ask them how that image of Jesus makes them feel?

Fan or Follower: Worth It?

When we gathered on Sunday, it was to finish up our journey through the question: Are you a follower of Jesus or merely a fan? A fan, just to remind you, is “an enthusiastic admirer”. A fan has the poster on the wall, knows all the stats and cheers from the sidelines.

The only way to know the difference between being a fan and being a follower is to discover what Jesus says a follower looks like. That, really, has been the whole point of this journey. We want to discover what Jesus defines being a follower as, and then see how we measure up.

Principles of following:
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life. 5) A follower knows Jesus intimately. 6) A follower follows Jesus in a community of other followers. 7) A follower follows Jesus on mission. 8) Following Jesus is costly. 9) A follower becomes more like Jesus as they follow him.

Sermon Big Idea:
Following Jesus is worth the hardship and the costs that following might bring.

Sermon Points:

  • Jesus defines what it means to be a follower, not you or I.
  • It is not about how we compare to other people, it is not about denominational measures, or family heritage or Biblical knowledge.
  • Jesus’ definition is not easy! But is it worth it?
  • God wants to transform our lives, in giving us new lives. (Romans 6:1-4)
  • New zoe (spiritual) life.
  • Before we knew Christ we were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1)
  • Abundant (overflowing quality of life that Jesus came to give), spiritual life (John 10:10)
  • We have to be convinced that this new life in Christ is enough. We have to learn contentment (Philippians 4:12-13)
  • What does following Jesus supply? (Psalm 23)
    • Contentment (vs 1)
    • Rest (vs 2)
    • Guidance (vs 3)
    • Safety (vs 4)
    • Provision (vs 5)
    • A home (vs 6)
  • Can God really provide these things? YES. His proof is in his power displayed in Jesus’ resurrection. His proof is the victory we have been given through Jesus.

Follow-up questions:
Take some time to answer the question “Are you a follower?” in light of how Jesus defines that relationship?

Questions for families with small children:
Pick one or two of the principles of following and talk to your children about how you can be living them out in your family life.

Are you a follower?

Fan or Follower: Transformation follow-up

Have you ever been in one of those moments in life when you are face-to-face with the consequences of your character (not your actions, your character), and you think: “Man, I wish I could be someone else.” Or have you ever wished that a part of you was different. Perhaps your anger gets the best of you, or your perfectionism causes a rift with a co-worker. Or maybe you’re lazy attitude causes you to miss out on a life-changing opportunity. Or maybe you just plain old don’t like who you are in one particular moment.

Maybe I’m the only one who finds himself disappointed in, well, himself (although I doubt that to be the case). When we met on Sunday, we talked about how God desires to transform us into the likeness of Jesus. Let me be clear in saying that God desires this because he is disappointed in us or finds us wanting. That is not the case at all. He desires this for us because we are at our best when we are being like Jesus. Philip is most like Philip when there is more of Jesus present. I know that may seem like an odd thing to say, but I believe it to be true.

Remember, God created humanity in his own image. That image was broken when Adam and Eve rebelled against (disobeyed) God. That image remained broken, until Jesus was born and redeemed the image, remade the image of humanity. So now, as a new creation (as Paul calls us), I follow after the image of Jesus, which is in fact the real image of me that God desires. I hope you can follow that bit of convoluted logic.

Principles of following (so far):
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life. 5) A follower knows Jesus intimately. 6) A follower follows Jesus in a community of other followers. 7) A follower follows Jesus on mission. 8) Following Jesus is costly.

Sermon Big Idea:
A follower is transformed to be more like Jesus as they follow him.

Sermon Points:

  • I am learning to be more like Jesus in my attitudes, behaviours and character.
  • We are all being made into the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:8).
  • Romans 8:29 we are being conformed into the image of Jesus.
  • Transformed is the process by which we become more like Jesus.
  • Being conformed to Jesus’ image is the end result/goal/product.
  • Sanctification is what this whole process is called.
  • 1 Peter 1:2 sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives: he accomplishes the process by which we are made into Jesus’ image.
  • BUT we must participate in the process; we cannot simply go about our lives waiting for the Spirit to get it done!
  • In transforming us, Jesus will interfere with our lives!
  • Transform what? 1) Heart (passions, love, empathy, emotions, anger, lusts, compassion, etc); 2) Mind (Philippians 4:8-9); 3) Life (2 Peter 1:3-9, our lives need to reflect Jesus!)
  • Why does God want to do this? Because we are all images of a broken humanity and God sent Jesus to fix what was broken (Matthew 9:12-13)
  • What motivates this on God’s part? Love. God loves you enough to meet you wherever you are at, but he love you too much to leave you there.
  • Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QCkBL2DfVg to watch a Skit Guys video about this topic called “God’s Chisel”.

Follow-up questions:
When was the last time you considered, really considered, areas of your life that God might want to remodel? What bothers you most about yourself? How can you ask the Holy Spirit to help you work on that area? Is there something habitual in your life that you know is not Christ honouring? When was the last time you prayed/confessed/asked the Holy Spirit to work on that in your life?

Questions for families with small children:
For those brave enough, take a minute to ask your child/children what they wish could/would be different about you (scary right). Prompt them to respond honestly with no fear of reprisal. Whatever they have to say, invite them to pray with you about that thing, that the Holy Spirit would help you work on that area of your life. This is a great opportunity to model humility and openness to God’s transformation in your life to your children!

Are you a follower?

Fan or Follower: The Cost

The familiar saying goes: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” While the source of this old adage is rather obscure, it has been around a good long time and has a fairly clear meaning: it is impossible to get anything for nothing.

There is some danger in applying this statement to anything Christian, because in many ways our faith is built upon the idea of God’s free gift of salvation to all who believe. I would never say anything to counter this. God gives salvation, redemption and eternal life to all who come to him in humility and repentance. However, to take that free gift of salvation and turn it into a free ride to heaven is indeed something we must be careful of.

While our invitation to join God’s family is open to everyone and our acceptance into that family does indeed come free of charge, there is a very definite understanding that there are expectations placed on us as we enter into that family. There are costs involved when it comes to following Jesus. Those costs come, mainly in denying ourselves and living out God’s plan for our lives instead of our own.

Even the very nature of our Christian faith, that it is a transformative faith, is costly. When Paul writes: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the newcreation has come: The old has gone, thenew is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17), he is speaking of a cost. It is not easy to deny your old self in the everyday of life, it requires sacrifice. It requires that we “by the Spirit…put to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13).

Principles of following (so far):
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life. 5) A follower knows Jesus intimately. 6) A follower follows Jesus in a community of other followers. 7) A follower follows Jesus on mission.

Sermon Big Idea:
Following Jesus is costly.

Sermon Points:

  • All of the “principles of following” work together to define what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
  • All of the principles are costly in one way or another.
  • Jesus makes no secret about the fact that following him is costly (Mark 10:16-23, 37-39, Luke 9:57-62)
  • Following Jesus costs us our comfort: we are not a home here on earth, we are foreigners (1 Peter 1:17 & 2:11, see also John 15:18-19, Philippians 3:20 and Hebrews 11:13-16)
  • What should the slogan be for followers of Jesus? Come and die.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer: ““When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
  • Die to yourself, your dreams, your plans, your comforts, your priorities.
  • Luke 14:25-33 Jesus encourages us to count the cost of following him.
  • It seems like a lot! G.K. Chesterton wrote: “It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, but that it has been found difficult and left untried.”
  • What makes the cost worthwhile? Grace. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.
  • The only real response to God’s grace to us through Jesus Christ is for us to give up everything in service to him.
  • Consider Isaac Watt’s words from the last verse of “When I survey the wonderous cross”: Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
  • Is the cost of following greater or less than the cost God paid to save you?

Follow-up questions:
Take a moment to look at the principles of following that we have looked at so far and think about what each one might cost you as a follower. Are you prepared for those costs?

Questions for families with small children:
Take some time talking with your children about how much things cost and whether the cost is worth what you get out of it. Talk about that concept in connection to God and the price he paid for us.

Are you a follower?

Fan or Follower: Mission Follow-up

Luke 9:23 Then He (Jesus) said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

If we are a follower of Jesus, we must understand that we are following Jesus somewhere. It is not simply a matter of praying the “sinners prayer” and then, well, nothing. In fact I can find no passage of scripture that talks about following Jesus that mentions standing still. Even in our Bible Challenge readings (from Acts 23 today), we find those who follow after Jesus on the move. There’s Philip with the Ethiopian eunuch, Peter with Cornelius and Paul on the move from Jerusalem to Caesarea. Idleness was not in their repertoire as follower of Jesus, and it should not be in ours. Being a follower of Jesus means following Jesus somewhere, and that somewhere, in the broadest of terms, is on mission.

We each have a mission given to us by Jesus when we become his follower, his mission to be precise: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) Our mission is to seek out those who are lost in sin and help them be found. That mission does not have cultural, geographical, spacial, temporal, political (or any other “al” you can thing of) boundaries. It is the mission for all Christians regardless of age, gender, race, culture, economic class or education level. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whenever you are doing it, that is your mission.

One other thought before we get to the notes from Sunday’s sermon: John 12:26 reads “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” This is Jesus’ mission. We make a very critical mistake if we try to make it our mission. It is always Jesus’ mission. Why is this distinction important? Because if we are going to engage and participate in this mission, we have to be following Jesus’ lead. We have to be where Jesus is, just like he says in this verse from John 12. If we think that we can conveniently fit this mission into our own plans, lives, goals, then we are missing the point. It is Jesus’ mission. It has to be done with Jesus’ direction, done Jesus’ way, with Jesus’ provision. Our lives, goals, plans should center around the mission, not the other way around.

I know, I’m making this really complicated. I’m making this whole Christian thing really hard and challenging…but I’m not actually. I’m just passing on what Jesus said. We have to be conscious of the fact that Jesus defines the relationship we are to have with him. I’m just as challenged as you are…perhaps more. My whole life is supposed to be about this mission…and sometimes I wonder how much I’ve fooled myself into thinking that some of my “pastoral” duties are mission oriented when in fact they are not. This is a troubling thought for me, and one that requires a deep look at my motives, the way I spend my time and my gifts, and the very nature of what it means to be a pastor.

It is my deepest hope and prayer that this conversation we are having about being a follower is making you pause and re-evaluate your relationship with Jesus and consider where you are follower (celebrate those spots) and where you are merely an enthusiastic admirer (a fan…work on those spots, it’s worth it, I promise).

Principles of following (so far):
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life. 5) A follower knows Jesus intimately. 6) A follower follows Jesus in a community of other followers.

Sermon Big Idea:
A fan will not say no to themselves; a follower will join with Jesus on mission.

Sermon Points:

  • For too long, Christians have considered “mission” as something someone else did, somewhere else.
  • So too has evangelism been left to the “professionals” like Billy Graham and pastors.
  • the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) is the responsibility of all Christians.
  • John 20:30-31 tells us that the point of the written Gospels was to tell the story of Jesus so that we may believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
  • Philippians 1:3-5 tells us that the job of the church is to partner in the gospel.
  • Who is the church? US. Christians. It is our job to share the gospel, to tell the story of Jesus so that people will believe in Jesus.
  • John Wesley: “You have one business on earth – to save souls.”
  • How? 1) Deny yourself. Forget you exist and live only for Jesus. (Luke 9:23-25). 2) Join Jesus where he is (John 12:24-26).
  • Where do we follow Jesus on mission? Wherever he leads.
  • When do we follow Jesus on mission? Whenever he calls.
  • What do we do when we follow Jesus on mission? Whatever he tells us to.
  • Being on mission for Jesus is not boring!
  • “Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is — where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge.” Robert C. Shannon (Christian author)
  •  “Some wish to live within the sound of church and chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell!” C.T. Studd (British cricket player and missionary to China)

Follow-up questions:
Are you following Jesus on mission? Are you intentionally listening to where, when and what Jesus is calling you to as his missionary? Do you even consider yourself a missionary for Jesus? (You are!)

Questions for families with small children:
As you child if they know someone, a class-mate, neighbour, teacher, friend, who does not know Jesus. As them if there is some way they can think of to show that person God’s love for them. Help them execute their plan.

Fan or Follower: Not Alone

When was the last time you tried to do something on your own and failed at it? Would it have gone differently if you had asked someone to help you? Very few things in life are certain (cue the playback of the old adage about death and taxes in your head), but what is certain is that we are humans are not designed to be alone. Of course I’m speaking in a broad general sense here, but the Bible tells us that we are created in God’s image, and God is a relational God.

Yet it baffles me that so many Christians think that they can be a follower of Jesus in isolation from other believers. This is an indefensible position from a scriptural standpoint.

Sure, there are times when it is “easier” to journey alone with Christ, and certainly there are times when it is less messy. But when you journey alone, who is there to correct you or pick you up when you fall down, or cheer you on when you feel like quitting.

Of course, the “spiritual” answer to those questions is “God is walking with me and he is everything I need.” True, God is all we need…if that were how he chose to work in the lives of believers. But it’s not. He chooses to use the church, the local fellowship of the saints. It is God’s plan that we journey together in fellowship with other followers of Jesus.

Principles of following (so far):
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life. 5) A follower knows Jesus intimately.

Sermon Big Idea:
While we are called to an intimate relationship with Jesus, that relationship is not intended to be an exclusive relationship. We are followers of Jesus in community with other followers.

Sermon Points:

  • John 10:1-6 Jesus calls his followers sheep, this is not an accident!
  • Sheep are flock animals, they do not do well on their own.
  • We make the mistake of thinking that our intimate relationship with Jesus is an exclusive relationship with Jesus. It is not.
  • The New Testament teaches that our faith journey with Jesus is never intended to be something we do alone, but in community, in fellowship with other believers. (2 Peter 2:9-10, Hebrews 10:24-25).
  • Acts 2:44-45: the early church devoted themselves to: 1) the Apostles teaching (the Word); 2) breaking of bread and fellowship (each other); 3) prayer (relationship with God).
  • Some Christians strongly affirm #1 & #3 above but neglect #2
  • Not just fellowship on Sunday mornings! The early Christians shared life together.
  • A fan thinks that their faith is personal, a follower shares their faith in fellowship with other followers.
  • What happens when we fellowship: 1) we help one another; 2) we meet Jesus; 3) sympathy, support and acceptance; 4) we find family

Follow-up Questions:
Do you share your faith journey with other people? Do you pray for people and let people pray for you? Do you share life with other Christans? If no, why not?

Questions for families with young children:
Take a moment to talk to your children about their best friend. Then ask them how they got to be such good friends with that person. Then take time to talk about what it means to share that friendship with other people, to extend it’s benefits and blessings to someone else. That is what it means to be in a community of Christ-followers.

Fan or Follower: Relationship

We all have relationships. Some of them are deep and abiding, some of them are shallow and passing, and others fall somewhere in between those two extremes. We have so many names for relationships that it can even be challenging to define the kind of relationship we have with someone. Is it a friendship or an acquaintance? Where do you cross the line between the two? Is someone a friend or a confidante? When does that line get crossed? What about the kinds of relationship that have deep trust and accountability but are not friendships as at all (like a mentor or a coach)? How do you know when someone crosses that deepest of lines and becomes the proverbial BFF (best friends forever for those reading this who do not keep up with modern short forms)?

This past Sunday in continuing our journey in answering the question: “Are you a follower of Jesus?”, we explored a key principle of following that makes all of the other principles of following possible. The principle is this: a fan knows ABOUT Jesus, a follower KNOWS Jesus. A follower has a relationship with Jesus to such an extent that the follower knows who Jesus is, recognizes his voice and appreciates his company.

Principles of following:
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life.

Sermon Big Idea: A fan knows about Jesus. A follower knows (yada) Jesus.

Sermon Points:

  • Yada: to know someone and be known about someone, it refers to a deep knowledge of someone
  • This Hebrew word defines the kind of relationship God desires to have with us (Psalm 139 talks about this)
  • It is because God wants this kind of intimate relationship with us that he sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins
  • Yada talks about knowing someone because you have spent time with them and have experienced who they are
  • Yada is something that grows (Ephesians 1:17 & 2 Peter 3:18)
  • John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” We are Jesus friends, that is the relationship he defines for us
  • Duality if our relationship with God: our position is that of beloved child & friend, but our posture is that of a humble slave (doulos)
  • This principle is critical for all of the others to happen. You can’t get the place where you believe Jesus is the only one worth following if you don’t know him. In order to be willing to be his doulos (bondslave), you have to know him. In order to be willing to let Jesus interfere with your life, if you do not know him.
  • Our relationship with Jesus is personal. We can’t compare our relationship with others (“Well, compared to person “G” my relationship with Jesus is good!”). Jesus rebukes Peter for this in John 21:20-23. We must be concerned with only our relationship with Jesus.

Follow-up questions:
How close would you say that you are to Jesus right now? Are you “friendly” enough with him to share you deepest fears, dreams, concerns, secrets with him? Are you in more  of a strained or even estranged relationship right now? Did you know that no matter where your relationship is with Jesus right now, he loves you, he died for you and he wants to “yada” (know) you more? Take time with Psalm 139 this week. Marvel at how much God already knows you, and how much he wants you to know him. Then spend time with Psalm 139:23-24, make those your prayer and see what God shows you.

Question for families with young children:
Take a moment to ask you child who their best friend is and why. Then ask them what it would be like if Jesus was as good a friend. Ask them how they would like to get to know Jesus more.