[Note: This sermon is from Nov. 22]
Our choices become our destiny. What's your destiny?
Jesus said, "Follow me." Before you become a leader you must become a good follower. This is obvious when we say “Disciple” + “Now”. A Disciple is essentially a student. A person who sits at the feet of a teacher and learns. This is not simply about downloading information, but also having one’s life whole transformed by the teacher’s teachings. That’s basically what it means to be a disciple. And being transformed works from the inside out. The heart changes, and then the choices change.
The Bible gives us some warning signs like that to help us make choices. It’s really choices along the way which determine our destiny. On the road to our destiny we are faced with several choices and road signs to obey, disobey, or ignore.
Choices. We make them every day. Each season of life presents its own set of choices. There is the choice of::
- what college to attend
- the choice of a marriage partner
- choice of job(s)
- choice of where to live
- choice of friends
- choice of car
- what to eat
- and on and on
The theme of the weekend was embodied in Matthew 16:24 which reads, "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'." Perhaps you’ve heard the verse before. Maybe you’ve never been confronted with the call to follow Jesus. Maybe you consider yourself a Christian because that’s all you’ve ever known.
Let me ask a simple question that has about 3 answers. Who are you following?
1.) The Crowd - Many people just follow the crowd. Just to fit in. Go with the flow. Everyone else is doing it. The problem with following the crowd is that most of the time in the Bible – the majority was not with God. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
2.) Super Stars - Here, I'm talking about celebrities, athletes, famous people, rock stars. Even in Christian circles, we have super star pastors, musicians. These are people we tend to idolize or follow more closely. Our tendency is to put more faith in the messenger instead of the message. People will lead you astray. Pastors will lead you astray. Listen to the challenge of the writer of Hebrews 12:2, "Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
3.) The Inner Self - Sometimes people just want to do it there own way. You see that happening in our culture today. "Don’t judge me." "I want to do this." "It’s ok for me but maybe not for you." It’s nothing new… In the Old Testament, the book of Judges tells us [17:6, 21:25] – “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
The theme of Disciple Now this weekend was Choose to Follow. Everyone wants to be a leader but before you lead, you must learn to follow. Jesus calls his people to Follow Him.
To follow Jesus means to Surrender to Jesus. Jesus is not a system of beliefs or a box to check. Following Jesus means joining Him where He is. As Christians, we do not follow a series of propositional facts – we follow a person. Following Jesus means putting your faith in Him not tradition or culture. Following Jesus means letting nothing come between Him and you. Following Jesus means a complete re-orienting of your life around Him.