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James Meehan - Do You Know Where You're Going?

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    James Meehan - Do You Know Where You're Going?

Hello and welcome to Switch. My name is James Meehan and today we are in part three of our series, Learning the Jesus Way of Life. In this week's message, we're going to read about Jesus calling his first disciples. We're gonna look at how they responded to his invitation and we're gonna learn from their example, what it looks like for us to follow Jesus today. So if you are ready, say, "I'm ready". I'm assuming you said you're ready, so we're gonna keep on going. Here's the thing. When it comes to being in a relationship with somebody, it's important to like actually know who the person is and like what their values are and where they're going, before you start following them in life. Like following somebody without knowing who they are or where they're going is foolish to say the least.

And when I first started following Jesus, I was sort of a fool because I really wanted to have a great relationship with an awesome Christian girl and so I met this girl who was really pretty and went to church and that was about all I knew. And so we started dating and like it was really enjoyable at first as we got to know each other, but a couple months down the road it became clear that her and I had very different values. We had different priorities in life and we were going in two totally different directions, but I didn't know that until after we'd already been dating for a period of time. And so it got to the point where like I felt really conflicted because if we were to keep dating, it would lead to one of us needing to compromise on our values in a way that actually probably wouldn't have been very honoring to either of us.

And so I knew that the time to end this relationship had come and unfortunately it took me a while to get there because I followed before I actually knew. And just like following somebody without knowing who they are, where they're going is foolish, also knowing what you're supposed to do without following through is foolish and it's lazy because like I got to the point where I knew the right thing to do was to end this relationship in a way that would be honoring to both of us. But I just wasn't ready to make that step yet because there were like things that I really enjoyed about the relationship and I was worried that she would take it the wrong way and so I just kind of dragged my feet until eventually the breakup was probably even more painful and messy than it needed to be if I would've just made the decision when I knew I needed to make it.

You see, following somebody without knowing who they are, where they're going is foolish and then knowing what you're supposed to do without following through is lazy. That's why it's important that we do not separate the two, especially in the relationships that matter most to us, because knowing and following are meant to go together. This is especially true when it comes to the Jesus way of life because the foundation of following Jesus is a relationship with Jesus. He wants us to know him and he wants us to follow him, not one or the other, but both and so if you are taking notes, this is the big idea for this message. Jesus is inviting you to know him and follow him. Jesus is inviting you to know him and follow him. The and is really important because both of these ideas are meant to come together. To further illustrate this, we're actually going to look at a passage of scripture found in Matthew chapter four, where Jesus calls his first disciples.

Starting in verse 18, here's what we read, "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake for they were fishermen. 'Come follow me.' Jesus said, 'And I will send you out to fish for people.' At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, Jesus saw two other brothers, James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him".

Jesus is inviting you to know him and follow him, just like he did these early disciples. Now I understand that it is one thing to like read those words or to hear me read those words, and it's a different thing entirely to actually visualize, to see and feel what that moment would've been like, because while for us, those are just words on a page, for those early disciples, that was a life-changing moment and so what I wanna do is something a little bit different. We're gonna play a clip from a TV show called "The Chosen" that visualizes Jesus calling his first disciples to help us really embrace and experience the power of that moment. So let's watch.

Just like he did with these fishermen thousands of years ago. Jesus is inviting you to know him and to follow him. So how will you respond? These early disciples responded by four pretty significant things. The first thing that they did is they recognized the authority of Jesus. They recognized the authority of Jesus. They had just witnessed a miracle. All of these fish coming into their boats, to the point where they are starting to sink, they knew that Jesus was no ordinary man. They believed he was the Messiah, so they were willing to follow him.

That's the first thing. The second thing is they were willing to give up anything that held them back. Like they literally left their jobs. Two of the guys left their dad to follow Jesus. The third thing is they did not go alone. These fishermen, these brothers didn't leave the other one behind. They went together in response to Jesus' invitation. And the fourth thing is that they were in it for the long haul. They were in it for the long haul. As you trace the journey of these disciples through the rest of Matthew's gospel, the three years of Jesus ministry, you see them there every step of the way and then after Jesus' death and resurrection from the grave, when the church was launched into the world these disciples were significant leaders in the early days of Christianity because they were in it not just for a day, not just for a moment, not just when it was convenient, but they were committed to following Jesus and going the distance.

Now that's how they responded. And through their response, God used them to change the world and because of their response, God changed them in significant ways and he wants to do the same for you. He wants to do the same with you. So how will you respond? What I wanna do is take those four things from the disciples and apply them to us as questions. Starting with the first question, do you recognize the authority of Jesus? Do you recognize the authority of Jesus? Because like if Jesus is just some ordinary dude, then following him makes no sense. If Jesus is just like kind of some random figure from history or even like more extreme than that, if Jesus is simply a fairytale, then it makes absolutely no sense to dedicate your life to following him.

But if Jesus is who he said he was. If Jesus is who these early disciples believed that he was, the son of God, the savior king, chosen by God to rescue his people from sin, then following Jesus actually makes more sense than anything else. Because if he really is the one who knows the way to eternal life, and is inviting us to follow him, then why wouldn't we? When I think about my own journey of following Jesus, I remember when I first recognized his authority. It was when I was 19 years old after having graduated from high school, spending a year trying to figure out what I was gonna do with my life, showing up to a church service, not too different from this and hearing the good news of Jesus, the good news of who he is and what he did and what that could mean for me in a way that just hit different, to the point where I felt compelled to respond. I committed my life to him and that moment changed everything for me.

And maybe there are some of you that are watching this message and today is gonna be that turning point for you, where maybe for the first time ever you recognize his authority. Maybe there are some of you who are watching this where you would call yourself a Christian, but like the way you've been seeing Jesus is very much like Jesus saved me from my sins but I'm not even close to devoting my life to him. This is what you need to understand about Jesus, is he is your savior and he is the Lord of creation. There is a way of living that he has invited us into the way that leads to eternal life and if you resist that and you reject it, then I'm telling you what you are the one who misses out. So maybe for you today is the day that you recognize, not only did he save you, but he came to change you, to make you more into the person that you're meant to be.

Question number one, do you recognize the authority of Jesus? And then question number two is this, what will you give up? What will you give up? Because following Jesus will involve giving up some of our old ways of believing, thinking, and living, so that we can step into the new ways of believing, thinking and living that he has for us. Maybe for you, following Jesus is gonna require you to give up that habit, that thing that you have been relying on, that you know is throwing your life into chaos.

Because you have become so dependent upon this substance to get you through the day that the relationships around you are crumbling and Jesus is saying, Hey, it's time to give that up because only I can give you what you're really searching for. Maybe for others of you, it's gonna be giving up that romantic relationship that in the beginning was maybe like really fun and enjoyable and seemed good, but it's gotten to the point where it's not God honoring or Jesus centered at all. And now you're compromising on some of your values and convictions and you're trying to figure out what do I do? 'Cause like I know this isn't God's best for me but I really like this person, and maybe that's what you're gonna give up, a relationship that means a lot but it's not actually God's best.

Maybe for you, the thing that you're gonna give up is the consistent pattern of disrespecting and disobeying your parents. Because even though they may not be perfect, you know that God gave them to you, that they are your parents and you are their kid. And that following Jesus is gonna look like loving them a little bit better because Jesus has called us to love all people. Even the ones we live with, maybe even especially the ones that we live with. Or maybe for you, following Jesus is gonna look like giving up some of that, you know, screen time that is taking up so much of your time and it's actually getting in the way of you being able to spend intentional time with God and others. When we say yes to following Jesus, it's going to require us to give up some of the things that used to be a substantial part of our lives, that may end up holding us back from what God wants for us. So do you recognize the authority of Jesus? What are you willing to give up?

And then the third question is, who will you bring with you? Who will you bring with you? Those early disciples brought other people to Jesus and Jesus wants you to bring other people to him too. Now, maybe early on when you started following Jesus, one of the things that you actually did have to give up were the people that you spent a lot of time with because they weren't helping you become the person that God made you to be. But now, as you're a little bit more mature in your faith, as you're a little bit more grounded and good, God-honoring community, maybe now what God's asking you to do is to go back to those people and start bringing them to church with you.

Maybe for you, the person that God is asking you to bring to Jesus is that older sibling that you used to look up to in so many ways, but now they've found themselves in a pattern of not great things that are starting to get them into more and more trouble and what God wants you to do is help them get back on the right path. Maybe for you, the person that you need to bring is somebody that you actually haven't yet met because you've been kind of like so cozy in your comfort zone with all of your Christian community that you don't have a lot of friends who don't know Jesus. And maybe now is the time for you to break out of that bubble and begin to start forming those relationships so you can actually be a light to the people who need it. Do you recognize the authority of Jesus? What are you willing to give up?

Who will you bring and the last question is this, how far will you go? How far will you go? Will you keep following Jesus when it gets hard because it will get hard. Like we absolutely believe that following Jesus will make your life better, but it probably won't make your life easier and so when things get challenging, will you stick with Jesus? What about when he asks you to do something that you don't really want to do because it's scary or it's uncomfortable? Will you stick with him every step of the way? Because if you do, then Jesus is gonna do for you what he did for those earliest followers. Because what he said was he said, "Hey, come and follow me and I will make you into fishers of people, like I will send you out to fish for people".

This is what Jesus wants to do for you. When you begin to follow him, when you get to know him, Jesus is gonna use you to make a difference in the world but that's gonna require you to actually follow him. To go where he goes, to do what he does, to trust what he says, and to love how he loves. If we fast forward to the end of Matthews gospel, at the very end of it all, in chapter 28 verses 16 through 20 we read about the 11 disciples going to Galilee, the same place that Jesus called these first followers. They went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. This is after Jesus has died and risen from the grave. He says, Hey, go to Galilee, the place where this all began because I've got a message I'm gonna give to you there. "When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some doubted. Then Jesus".

In the flesh, having conquered death comes to them and he says, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I've commanded you and surely I am with you always to the very end of the age".

This is the authority of Jesus, all of it on heaven and on earth. This is what he wants you to do to become the kind of person who makes disciples, who brings other people to him, who helps other people grow closer to him, to help other people become more like him. That's what Jesus did 2000 years ago. That's what Jesus is doing in our world today because Jesus is inviting you to know him and to follow him. Our journey with him starts with being called, and it continues until eventually he commissions us to go out and carry on the mission that he started. And so for maybe you today, the thing that you need to do is say yes to the call, to say yes, to actually getting to know Jesus and maybe for others of you, the thing that you need to do is step into the commission to go out and make disciples of others because Jesus has invited you to know him and to follow him.

Heavenly Father, we come before you right now, so grateful for the fact that you have chosen us to be your people. That you have invited us to find freedom in your son Jesus, and so today, God, we ask that you'll give us the faith to go where Jesus goes. To do what Jesus does. To trust what your son Jesus says and to love how he loves. Help us to follow him today. It's in His name we pray, amen.

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