It's pretty easy to forget why we're even here in the first place, but when we can remember, it ought to change everything.
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
One of the most interesting thing about us as people…is the fact that we struggle to remember things.
We forget where we put our keys.
Where we put our phone.
We forget people’s names.
Many of you just instantly.
You meet someone:
“Hi, I’m David!”
And then 3 seconds later, you’re like, “I have no idea what that guy’s name is!”
But what’s even more interesting is that we have a way of slowly forgetting even things that at one time were really important to us.
For instance, check out this clip from the movie “UP”
You’re gonna see 2 people who’ve had the dream to go to “Paradise Falls” since they were little kids.
For all of their childhood, and much of their early life, their hope was to go to Paradise Falls…but other things kept coming first.
And eventually…it just got put on the shelf…forgotten.
Now…I want you to remember that. Okay?
Don’t forget. Remember how easy it is to forget? File that in your mind for now.
This morning, we’re are continuing in “The Kingdom” series on the Book of Matthew
Matthew is one of 4 books in the Bible about the life of Jesus.
We are going verse-by-verse through the book of Matthew, but we’re skipping a few sections…like parts we’ve covered in the past.
If you were here last week, we covered chapter 3 on John the Baptist…who was the guy who prepared the way for Jesus…and actually baptized Jesus.
We’re actually going to skip over the first 11 verses of chapter 4, where Jesus is tempted by Satan, because we did an entire series on it way back in 2010!
It’s called “Hooks” if you want to watch it or listen to it online.
THE LIGHT HAS DAWNED
As we study Matthew chapter 4 this week (both here and in house groups), you’re going to see that Jesus’ ministry is now just beginning.
All the prophecies about this birth and his beginnings have happened.
And it’s interesting too because up until this week, everything’s been pretty private and remote:
A tiny manger in the quaint town of Bethlehem, growing up in nowheresville Nazareth, baptized out in the boondocks by John, facing off with Satan in the wilderness.
But now his 3 years of PUBLIC ministry are going to begin.
So let’s dive into the Word of God today.
This is our life source. The authoritative words of God himself. It’s amazing stuff. And it’s challenging stuff. Challenging, but good!
(Matthew 4:12-17) – NIV
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali—14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Look at how verse 17 ends.
It says, “From that time on, Jesus began to preach”
So it’s starting. Jesus is going to change the world. It’s public now.
So, Jesus heads north to Galilee…it’s a larger region made up of about 300,000 people at that time…in about 200 or so villages and towns.
And he lives in Capernaum, which is the disciple Peter’s hometown…whom we’re going to meet in a few minutes.
But Matthew says, “By doing ministry in Galilee, Jesus fulfills this 700 year old prophecy by the prophet Isaiah.
It says that the land of Zebulun and Naphtali…the people living in the darkness…have seen a great light.
Well what in the world does that mean?? Who’s Zebulun? Sounds like a wizard from LOTR.
Well, when Israel settled in the promised land, about 1,400 years before Jesus, the twelve tribes of Israel were given certain allotments of land.
(show 12 Tribes Map)
And two of the tribes, named Zebulun and Naphtali, were given the northernmost land
Look for Sea of Galilee…
And in Jesus’ day, that same land was known as Galilee
(Show Galilee Map)
And it was an area where both Jews and non-Jews (gentiles) lived.
A land…without hope…living in spiritual darkness.
And in that very land…the light of the world appears.
Fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy
THE REAL STORY OF THE DISCIPLES
The passage then continues:
(Matthew 4:18-22) – NIV
18 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. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he 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,22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
We’ll cover the next 3 verses in house groups this week…
Now, I know a ton of you are new to this whole church thing and maybe you’ve never heard this story before.
But if you have, I think there’s a good chance you’ve heard it taught incorrectly
The real context is often glossed over. I’ve been guilty of that myself.
What we usually hear is that Peter & Andrew are just minding their own business…Jesus walks by…and it’s the first time they’ve ever seen him…and he says, “Come, Follow Me…”
And BAM! They drop everything and follow Him.
First words out of his mouth, and they go!
But that’s not true. That’s not actually what the Bible teaches.
See, Jesus does 3 years of public ministry (the starting point being his baptism)
And almost everything that happens in his first year of ministry (besides his baptism and temptation) happens in the book of John.
Actually, between verses 17 & 18 in our chapter, a whole year has taken place.
So when Jesus says “Come, Follow me” to Peter, Andrew, James, and John, he’s already been doing a ministry for a year.
And he’s already known them for a year.
He knew them?
Turn to John 1.
(PAGE 861 )
This happens literally the next day after Jesus’ baptism.
So day 2 of his ministry.
A full year before the “Come, Follow Me” event
In fact, we mentioned this passage in one of DiscipleSHIFT messages this Fall.
(John 1:40-42) – NIV
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter.
There’s also an unnamed disciple in that passage, who tradition speculates was John himself.
Who’s also 1 of the 4 fishermen in our Matthew passage today.
Two days later, Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding, and these disciples (Peter, Andrew, John) are there as well, and it says, “They put their faith in Him”
The vast majority of Jesus’ first year is in the book of John, it mentions his disciples are sometimes with him…
Maybe that’s Peter and the crew still…or maybe not. Hard to say.
But something happens.
For whatever reason…They’d gone back to fishing. They’d gone back home.
Back to their families, careers, and a normal life.
A year has gone by.
Scholars know this from the 3 different Passovers that are mentioned in John and more…it helps us date the events.
We don’t know the disciple’s whole story.
Maybe they drifted away.
Or, Maybe they were just back home waiting for Jesus to call them to something.
But either way…they were back in the “same old same old” …going about their old ways…just like in the days before they met Jesus a year ago.
And it’s a fascinating passage because I think it’s so true of so many of us.
We meet Jesus…and we believe.
We not only believe, we want to follow to follow.
Because true belief in Jesus can only lead to following
But then…something happens.
Maybe it’s just time.
You were all excited at first about what Jesus was doing in your life, and you wanted to change the world w/ Him!
But now…maybe you don’t even know how it happened…but that passion has just kind of grown cold.
And you’re back to the same old same old.
Kind of like you were before you met Jesus.
Just out fishing again…living your normal life.
This happens to a ton of Christians.
See, Christianity is both a belief system AND a lifestyle. You believe AND follow.
But for some, it shrinks back into just a belief system.
“I believe Jesus died for my sins, I’m forgiven, I’m going to heaven…I guess I’ll just coast until then (you know show up at church 1-2 times a month so I don’t look SO bad…but coast)
Back to the same old…same old.
Or, maybe you’ve just been waiting….waiting….waiting…
Waiting for a job…waiting for a diagnosis…waiting for someone to marry…
And you’re lost in the daily stress of waiting.
Or maybe…you are running. Maybe not full-on…but you’re running away from God.
You’re not living for him anymore…
Maybe that’s what happened to the disciples?
Maybe something happened…and they just ran away…out of the presence of God…out of the light and back to the darkness.
Sometimes we think it’s just easier when the lights not shining on you, you know what I mean?
I mean, it’s certainly a possibility here.
In this exact same account in Luke, we get a few more details.
We see that Jesus actually went out into the boat with them, and they miraculously caught a bunch of fish (we taught on this last year at Easter), and when it happens, Peter replies
(Luke 5:8) – NIV
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
We don’t know exactly what happened with the disciples in that first year…but we know…like many of us…something happened…and they drifted back to where they were before they met Him.
But then, Jesus comes by, and after a few things happen, he just simply says, “C’Mon Follow Me”
And it’s like that moment in UP, when the old man dusts off the picture…and it all just starts flooding back.
“Oh yeah….that’s right! That’s the dream! This is what I’m living for. Not just to go about life’s routines and pay bills”
“THIS was what gave me life. This was the mission”
“Jesus died for me! I was on the path to hell…nothing in me was worthy of dying for, but he spoke to my heart, and told me He loved me and wanted to die in my place…and then he did it”
“and He forgave me, and wiped away everything I’ve ever done or ever will do…and gave me his love…he breathed life into this dead body…and offered me eternal life!”
“OH yeah…this is what I’m living for!”
“This is life!”
And you can just FEEL that they must have been thinking, “I remember! I remember! This is what it’s like to be alive!
“And although I might have pushed it out of my memory….I remember….AND THERE IS NOTHING LIKE IT”
I WILL FOLLOW!
See, that’s why the disciples just up and leave everything and follow Jesus.
Not because he was some strange guy passing by, but because he spoke deep into their hearts and reminded them what they were made for.
WHAT THEY LEFT BEHIND
And they go.
And they don’t just go…they GO.
And they just leave it all behind.
The belief…the memory of what they were made for…is so strong…that they just leave the rest behind.
They walk away, and Luke tells us, from not just the fish, but from the biggest catch they’d ever had, from their nets, their boats, their business. Their families for a season.
All to follow Jesus. All to put him first.
True belief leads to following
Christianity isn’t just believing…it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle of followership.
Matthew writes in verse 17 of this passage, that Jesus is saying people need to repent (confess sins, turn from them, follow God) BECAUSE the kingdom of heaven has come near.
“But what does it mean to be a follower…a servant…of the king?”
See, most of us today “believe” in the King, but we don’t serve the king.
We believe the king exists somewhere in the castle…
That He is quite nice.
And that he has bestowed us with a great pardon.
But that’s about it.
We don’t actually orient our lives, finances, decisions, time around what the king wants (like a real servant would in those days)
We just “believe” he exists and nicely forgave us
But what’s different about the disciples?
Well, for one, they encountered Jesus again.
I think one of the reasons a lot of us are stuck in Christianity being just a “belief” and not a “lifestyle” is because we’re not ever taking anytime in our lives to really just encounter God
That’s why “Encountering God” is 1 of our 3 Core values here.
And I believe the disciples also could follow Him because their purpose and their vision was clear.
(Matthew 4:19) – NIV
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Their mission is to go out and fish for people. Tell people about Jesus. Change the world.
The King is starting His Kingdom and they get to be a part of it.
And it’s no different today.
We can be a part of serving the King!
What an honor!
And they can go, they can leave everything, because when the vision is clear…you’ll go.
And even though they don’t even know where they’re going…they knew who they were going with!
It’s like…if I go to the worst state in the union…Wisconsin….to go visit one of my college roommates that lives in Madison now.
If I’m riding in his car, and he’s driving me around…
I don’t even care that I don’t know where I’m going, because I know he know.
And he’s a smart, reliable guy, so I trust Him.
Jesus speaks to them, he moves their hearts, and he them he tells them the mission….and they just go…because they TRUST him.
Let him do the same thing in your life!
Do you trust Him???
Then radically follow.
It’s not just that they know WHO their going with…they know WHAT they’re supposed to do.
See, every kid has a dream.
A dream to be an astronaut.
A professional baseball player
A ballet dancer
When I was in 9th grade, I wrote down that I either wanted to be a teacher, professional broadcaster, or a statistician. J
Other kids want to be doctors, surgeons.
Others, to go to Paradise Falls. J_
But life happens…and for whatever reason, the dream gets forgotten.
And for so many of us, we’ve just let life get in the way.
Our busyness…our time…our stress…our worries…
They’ve all clouded our memories of what our purpose is.
And instead of getting excited about one of the greatest callings of all time, we’ve conveniently settled on thinking Christianity is simply: “Accept Jesus and go to heaven”
“And in the meantime…just drift along in the rat race of accumulating possessions and attempting to be happy.
“And someday we’ll go to heaven and come alive.
NO! NO!!! You can come alive now!
Christ is already in you.
And He’s called you to something amazing.
He’s saying, C’MON FOLLOW ME!”
“The greatest life is not in the pursuit of your own happiness, the greatest life is following in pursuit of the King.
It’s following after Him! And following after Him in His mission: To change the world!
To reach the lost. To fish for people. To tell them of Good news.
This is what Renovation Church is all about.
This is WHO WE ARE.
This is how we’ve grown exponentially as a church in just over 4 years.
It’s people being changed by God to change the world
It’s being people who’ve met King Jesus…had their lives transformed…and then told other people about it.
You told your friends, neighbors, co-workers, you name it…the best news in the World. The Gospel. THE Good News.
And that’s how we’ll continue to grow …by reaching new people w/ Good News.
And yet…some of you have forgotten.
The mission has gotten cloudy…life’s gotten in the way…and you’re back fishin’ again.
Back to…(just like the disciples)…basically what you were doing before you met Jesus.
But people around you are dying…
But in the busyness…in the fogginess…in the panicked pace of life we live, it’s hard to notice.
For example… I read this this week for the very first time…and I never knew this.
That when the Titanic sank, of the 20 lifeboats that were lowered overboard, only a few were filled to capacity.
Several were less than half full!
For instance, when the first boat was lowered, boat #7, it had room for 65 people, but just 28 boarded.
Boat #5 left with 24 spaces unfilled.
Lifeboat #1 could accommodate 40 people but left with only 12 people on board.
IN all 40% of all lifeboat spaces remained unfilled!
Sure, some people thought it would never sink…but we all know the main reason those boats weren’t filled to capacity.
Because, in our sinful nature…most of us…when pressed…look out for #1. For ourselves.
And the people lowered the boats down because THEY wanted to get to safety as soon as possible…they didn’t have TIME to RISK waiting on anyone else.
And, we often don’t have time. Our life is just about us.
And really it’s ironically our own selfishness that’soten the biggest killer of our greatest dreams.
Because the greatest dreams are almost always about a dying of the self and the exalting of others
Here’s the deal: I know that you know this…
I KNOW that YOU KNOW the truth.
I know that deep down inside of you…you know…that God created you for something greater.
Something greater than just checking off check lists, and going to another event on your calendar, checking off another stage of life that was supposed to make you happy
You KNOW THIS!
He created you to be a world changer!
He created you to change lives…for eternity.
Each and every one of you can be used to impact lives around you.
God has already strategically put in place people around you that you could tell about his Son.
And it doesn’t’ matter if you’re a man, woman, black, white, extroverted, shy, crazy, or normal, the people around you respect you…so you have the right already to speak into their lives.
Maybe it’s to start talking to them about God.
Maybe it’s even to invite them to Easter in two weeks.
It’s the #1 Sunday of the year that people are most open to be invited to church.
And we’re going to have a great service for them.
But whatever the case…let Jesus be King again in your life.
See, a King…has authority over ALL of your life.
A king can just walk into your house and say… “Do that! Do this. I’ll take that. Follow me here”
And you go.
So let me ask you a question: Is Jesus your King? Or is he just your get out of jail free card?
It’s time to let him be your King again.
It’s time to be obedient again.
It’s time to get back on mission again.
It’s time to follow again
So just like the disciples…who had let go of the mission…had gone back to where they were before they met Jesus…
Jesus is coming to you today…
Jesus…is walking by right now…RIGHT NOW…
And he’s saying to you…not just the person next to you…to you…to YOU…
COME ON. FOLLOW ME.
Let’s change the world.
So will you?
Will you say good-bye to the world you’ve come back to and get serious about following Jesus again?
And what if that wasn’t just a rhetorical question.
In fact, let’s make it real.
Because some of you need a line in the sand. Just like the disciples needed a call to action.
So, here’s what I to do…
I’m going to invite the band to come back up here and lead us in worship.
Because that IS part of how the disciples made their decision. They encountered God! It gave them an opportunity to REMEMBER.
And then, I’m going to come back up in the next song, and I’m going to ask you if you want to get serious about following Jesus again.
Specifically, serious about following his mission.
Serious about fishing for people again.
But I want to give you some time to talk to him about it and pray about it first.
SO let’s talk to him and worship first…
So here’s what we’re going to do.
Kind of different…not something we usually do. Maybe have done it once in 4 years.
But Jesus is calling you to follow Him, and I want you to respond. And not just mentally.
I want you to respond with action.
So if you feel like you need to get super serious again about following Jesus closely…
You want to obey Him like a King again. Not like somebody you just conveniently believe in for forgiveness.
And specifically, you want to commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to go fish for people.
To help people know how amazing this awesome God is…how He can forgive even people as messy as you and me..
If you want to get really serious about God using you like THAT again…I want you to come on down to the front…and I’m going to pray for you.
And I don’t want everyone to come up here.
This isn’t like, “Oh…we should go up cuz that’s what we should do here…or we’re look bad”
No…God knows your heart…don’t fake it. You won’t fool Him.
I want you to do this if you’re serious about it and you know it’s time.
So if you want to do this…come down anytime during the rest of this song…
Stand up here…worship up here…talk to God…have a good talk while you’re up here. Pour out your heart to Him….
And then at the end of the song, I want to pray for you…and then you can be seated again.
And I don’t care if it’s even just one person that comes up here… it’s worth it.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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