Following Jesus

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist March 1, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 30401

Matthew 8:18-22 (KJV) Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

matthew_8_18t22_follow_jesusMy Jesus was never a crowd pleaser. He was not politically correct. Jesus spoke the truth in love, but that truth was often offensive to the crowds. Multitudes are following Jesus, but Jesus knew how fickle the multitudes are. The Bible says:

Matthew 8:18 (KJV) Now when JESUS SAW GREAT MULTITUDES ABOUT HIM, he gave commandment to DEPART UNTO THE OTHER SIDE.

Jesus saw the multitudes. Multitudes are following Jesus. Multitudes are following Jesus because He has healed people.

Jesus healed a leper with a touch (Matthew 8:3)
Jesus healed a centurion’s servant with a word (Matthew 8:13)
Jesus healed Simon Peter’s Mother-In-Law with a touch & a word (Matthew 8:15)

Jesus had crowds following Him to be healed. We are told:

Matthew 8:16 (KJV) When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed ALL that were sick:

The world loves Jesus when He gives temporary healing. The Great Physician is Doctor Jesus. “He healed ALL that were sick” Matthew tells us. So crowds are following Jesus. There are lots of numbers here. So Jesus says:

Let’s stop right here and build us a mega Church. We have BIG NUMBERS.
Let’s throw up some walls, and pass the plate.”

No, this is not what Jesus said. Now I’m not knocking mega Churches or large Churches. My son is the Family Pastor at a Church with a membership of around 2200 people. If people are coming together to serve Jesus and to follow Jesus and to love Jesus, praise God for it! But there are so many Churches that come together and yet rarely speak of Christ. There are Prosperity Gospel Churches that tell you that God wants everyone to be rich, healthy, and happy. But this is not the truth.

Being “Saved” Means Loving Jesus Above All Else

Jesus looks around Him and sees a multitude that is following Him to get what He has, not to be blessed by His Teaching and His Lordship. Out of the multitudes come what the Bible calls “A Certain Scribe”.

Matthew 8:19 (KJV) And a CERTAIN SCRIBE came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

The CERTAIN Scribe says to Jesus “I will follow you whithersoever you go!”. I want you to think about what this Certain Scribe said.

  • The Certain Scribe Is RESPECTFUL

The Scribe calls Jesus “Master”. “Master” is the Greek διδάσκαλος didaskalos which means “Master Teacher”. He gave Jesus a very high honor. The Scribes were educated people, people who daily copied scripture onto parchment and animal skins. These men were very careful in handling the Word of God. To be called a “Master Teacher” by a Scribe is like having a Doctor of Theology acknowledge a country preacher. “Master”. Jesus is a Master and Teacher. He said in another place:

John 13:13 (KJV) Ye call me MASTER AND LORD: and ye say well; for so I am.

The Scribe is right. He is RESPECTFUL of Jesus. Jesus IS Master. He knows the Word of God so much that the Apostle John called Jesus “The Word”.

John 1:14 (KJV) …. the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Jesus is not just another Rabbi or another Teacher nor even another Prophet.
He is the INCARNATE WORD OF GOD.
He is God become man.

He speaks with authority, for He speaks as God and for God. Many called Jesus “Master” who sought to undermine Him. The Pharisees, hypocrites as they were, said “Master we know You are true and speak the Word of God” (Matthew 22:16), but they were just seeking to hurt Jesus. Jesus showed His supremacy as Master of God’s Word over and over again. He is Master. The Scribe is correct.

  • The Certain Scribe Is ENTHUSIASTIC

He is on fire to go with Jesus. “Where He leads me, I will follow” could have been a song written about his life. When someone comes forward to receive Christ as Lord and Savior there should be a certain amount of enthusiasm. In fact, every convert should be enthusiastic in following Christ. After all, is He not King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Has He not promised that we can do all things through Christ Jesus? Didn’t the Apostle write:

Philippians 4:12-13 (NKJV) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Hasn’t Jesus promised us victory if we abide in Him? Did Christ promise ..

John 15:4-8 (NKJV) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

  • The Scribe Is Also CERTAIN

He was not hesitant. The Scribe wanted to be with Jesus “whithersoever”. That is a great thing. He said “Master, I WILL follow You”. Not “if” but “WILL”.

There was no hope so in what he said. Those who are saved in Christ SHOULD be enthusiastic. Jesus has said:

John 16:33 (NKJV) These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”

Oh, it is a good thing to be certain. But what caused the certain Scribe to be so certain? Because everything that Jesus had shown to the Scribe and to the crowds has POSITIVE. There were no negatives. There was no downside. But there is a downside to following Jesus.

Following Jesus Means Walking Apart
From The Multitudes

I was at a member’s home the other day ministering, praying for a sister dying. The daughters told me afterward “You are a nice man”. I was flustered, and at first didn’t know what to say. Then I told them “I try to be nice, and kind – but many times the Word I preach angers others”. I don’t seek to anger people, but those who reject God’s Word are often angry at what it says. Just last week I read Scripture from the pulpit and one of you looked up and GLARED at me. I didn’t write it, but I don’t publish FAKE NEWS. I publish GOOD NEWS! Following Jesus will often put you at odds with the multitudes, but the same was true of Christ’s ministry.

Jesus was getting on a ship to “go to the other side”. Why? Because there were two broken souls on the other side that Jesus wanted to bless. The Bible says:

Matthew 8:28 (KJV) And when {Jesus} was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, THERE MET HIM TWO POSSESSED WITH DEVILS, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

I don’t know if this was two men, a man and a woman, or two women. The text doesn’t tell us, just that they were possessed of devils. These two lost souls lived in the tombs, amongst dead bodies and skeletons, something that is terribly abnormal. God made us in His image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:26). He did not make us to be monsters. These two are possessed of monsters.

Matthew 8:29 (KJV) And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, JESUS, THOU SON OF GOD? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

The demons tremble at the Name of Jesus! They know Him. He is the Son of God, Incarnate God among us. It amazes me that DEMONS know Jesus on sight, but sinful man will not come to Him.

John 1:11-12 (KJV) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Oh, that people would receive Him as Lord and Savior!
Oh, that people would at least have the faith of a demon!

Matthew 8:30-31 (KJV) And there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

At this time in Israel’s history it was unlawful to eat pork. This requirement was voided after the death and resurrection of Christ. But at this time it is wrong to eat pork. Why? Because God said so. He said in:

Leviticus 11:7-8 (CEV) …. you must not eat pigs—they have divided hoofs, but don’t chew the cud. All of these animals are unclean, and you are forbidden even to touch their dead bodies.

When God says don’t do it, don’t do it.
When God says you can do it, then you can do it.
When God says don’t do it, don’t do it.
When God says you can do it, then you can do it.

There are pigs feeding in Israel because the Israelites disobeying God. They are not only eating pig, they are raising pig to eat. They are black marketing. They are like pushers, doing what is unlawful. The demons look out there and see this sinful activity … and the devil will always run to sin.

Jesus, if You’re going to cast us out
Cast us out into those pigs!

The Devil always has a slick way of doing things. Of all the things these demons could be cast into, why did they want to go into the pigs? Because the devil knows who are his. He knows that the town – which has been eating pig – will be angered. But Jesus knew this too. We read:

Matthew 8:32 (KJV) {Jesus} said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

The demons wanted the pigs, but the pigs had enough sense not to want the demons! These men were healed, restored to normalcy. What happened next? You’re probably thinking:

I bet they had a ticker tape parade for Jesus!
You’d be wrong!

Matthew 8:33-34 (KJV) And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they BESOUGHT HIM THAT HE WOULD DEPART OUT OF THEIR COASTS.

The “whole city came out to meet Jesus” not in a ticker tape parade, but to run Him out of town. The world does not want Jesus. If you follow Jesus, you will not make the worldly happy. If you follow Jesus you will often walk alone. Jesus told this Certain Scribe:

Matthew 8:20 (KJV) The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Jesus did not drive stakes into the world. His tent was always moving. He was often unpopular.

Jesus told people “I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven. If you eat of this bread you shall live forever. The bread that I give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world (John 6:51). Then He said:

John 6:53-56 (KJV) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

How did the world respond? We are told in

John 6:66 (KJV) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Many of those who followed Jesus went away and walked no more with Him. The world loves to use Jesus for temporal things, but cares nothing for Him as Lord and Savior. The world wants a Band-Aid or a Make-Over but does not want to be BORN AGAIN. Listen Believer, to follow Christ is to take up your Cross and follow Him. To follow Jesus is to walk with Him and love Him whether you get your way or not. Follow Jesus means He will care for you, but that the world will hate you at times, and more often that you think. But I stand with Simon Peter saying in my heart:

John 6:68-69 (KJV) …. Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

I will follow Jesus if none go with me. I pray that you will, too.

Jesus Is Never Next Or Last

Matthew 8:21 (KJV) And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Jesus is getting ready to “head over to the other side” and another “disciple” decides he needs to put the Lord on hold. He calls Him “Lord”. Jesus is Lord. He is always Lord and will always be Lord.

Lord”

A lot of people called Jesus “Lord” but He isn’t Lord to them. He is not L-O-R-D if He is L-A-S-T place in your life. Jesus demands obedience. He demands preeminence. Jesus Christ died so we could live. Peter wrote:

1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Jesus is Lord of the Grave. He is Lord of life, eternal life. He is Lord. He is the Lord Who redeemed us from damnation, from Satan’s Hell. We are headed toward glory because of Him! The Apostle said:

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God

He is Lord of what He has purchased. The problem in America today is that so many have dumbed down what it means to be saved. A believer in Christ receives Him as both LORD as well as SAVIOR. We who love Him put Christ FIRST, not LAST. We trust in His Word. We believe in His promises. And we follow Jesus no matter where we are.

What this young man said sounds reasonable. “Jesus, I’ll follow you, but FIRST let me bury my father”. I have read commentaries that tried to make this complex. It’s not complex. The person – and we don’t know if it’s male or female (the text does not say) wanted to put off following Jesus for something else. Listen Beloved:

A good thing becomes a bad thing when it stands between you and following Jesus.

To be saved is to follow Jesus.
You follow Jesus at home.
You follow Jesus at work.
You follow Jesus when you turn on television or radio.
You follow Jesus when you vote.
You follow Jesus at the Walmart.
You follow Jesus at the Kroger’s.
You follow Jesus on vacation.
You follow Jesus in sickness and sadness, in loss and in pain.
You follow Jesus in your families and in your marriage.
You follow Jesus in the Pulpit or in the Pew.
If you are saved you follow Jesus no matter what.

matthew_8_18t22If you want to “go to the other side” with Jesus, you must follow Jesus. No matter what anyone else says, no matter what the state of your family is, follow Jesus. Jesus told this individual:

Matthew 8:22 (KJV) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

I had a preacher ask me one time what I thought Jesus meant by that. I think Jesus meant what He said. He said “Follow Me. Put Me first. The world will put other things first, but YOU put ME first.” The MULTITUDES will not go with Jesus to the “other side”. You will, if you follow Jesus!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Belong To God, Following Disciples, God's Children, Jesus, Sermons Preached. Bookmark the permalink.

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