The Consequence Of Following Jesus Chuck Sackett March 1, 2005 Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26 “When God bids a man, He bids him ‘come and die’.” And Bonhoeffer did. He came; and he died. He recognized the hold of God over him as a disciple. There really is no other legitimate way to respond to God. We must recognize His hold over us. God’s call comes with consequences. It’s not clear in our text (Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26) if Matthew fully understood what he was getting into. But it became clearer the longer he stayed with Jesus. In the ensuing conversations and events the consequences became crystal clear. The consequence of following Jesus… is to be pressed out of our comfort zone, relationally. Soon we find ourselves with all those “undesirable” folks. It’s hard for the Pharisee in us to think God cares about those “tax collectors and sinners,” but eventually we learn He does. A few years back, when AIDS was more fearsome than today, I watched a man share his testimony in a room full of aspiring ministers. As the story unfolded of bi-sexual behavior, infection, and repentance, you could see the visible attempts to move as far back in their seats as possible. But not all-at the break, several came and embraced our guest and welcomed him to our class. These men and women knew the calling of Jesus. Someone wisely said, the church is not a sanctuary for saints but a hospital for sinners. My friend and fellow-preacher wants to know, “why do we have to waste so much time ‘hand-holding’ the saints?” It’s because we haven’t been close enough to Jesus to hear His call. His call presses us out of our comfort zone. He changes the nature of our relationships. He changes the addresses in our guest book. Jesus models for us a life of ministry. Interrupted at the banquet and interrupted on the journey, He models that life is lived for others, not for self. We are here to offer what God has given us, no matter how inconvenient that happens to be. The consequence of following Jesus … is to be pressed out of our comfortable plans, professionally. The next thing we know, Jesus is calling us to consider the real focus of our lives. Are we doing what He wants or what we want? James Earl Massey calls it the Burdensome Joy of Preaching. He describes the actual call in his book of the same name. He heard the voice of God as a teenager sitting in worship studying a waltz by Chopin. He heard God call, “I want you to preach.” Massey was headed to Julliard’s to study music. But, instead, he responded to God’s call and became one of America’s greatest preachers and teachers of preaching. God doesn’t change all our careers, He merely changes our professions. Where once we professed to be a lawyer who happened to be a Christian, we now profess to be a Christian who happens to be a lawyer. The difference may sound subtle, but it’s profound in its implication. Eventually our career does nothing more than make our calling possible. The consequence of following Jesus … is to spend time with Him, personally. We can’t follow Him if we don’t spend time with Him. When Jesus responded to the request of the ruler to heal his daughter, “Jesus got up and went . . . and so did His disciples.” While they may not have known where they were going, they were privileged to go with Jesus, wherever that was. In Matthew’s gospel we see the disciples with Jesus, learning to pray (sermon on the mount), learning to listen (mount of transfiguration), learning to mourn (garden of Gethsemane), learning to obey (mount Calvary). Then, when He’s ready to depart, they are ready to go (great commission). When we spend time with Jesus, learning what life is supposed to be like, it prepares us for the greatest consequence of being with Him, that of going for Him. God’s call is consistent; His call always comes with consequences. Abraham heard a call that included purpose (be a blessing) and promise (be blessed) (Gen. 12:1-9). His call story was repeated in the New Testament (Romans 4:13-25) with purpose (righteousness) and promise (offspring). His call comes to us with purpose (go for me) and promise (I will be with you). _________________________ Sermon brief provided by: Chuck Sackett, professor of preaching at Lincoln Christian Seminary in Lincoln, IL; and David N. Mosser, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Arlington, TX. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.