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LEAD2015 #1 – Follow Jesus

Follow Jesus – The Christian Leader’s Obedience

Pastor Peter Tan-Chi
LEAD2015 Plenary Session 1, 04/06/2015

Introduction

In the Bible, Jesus told his disciples to follow him and he would make them fishers of men. It is our responsibility, it is God’s work to make us fishers of men.

1         Listen

To follow Jesus, we need to listen, otherwise we may miss his instructions. We need to listen and obey.

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Jesus was a great teacher. Jesus took the initiative. He asked Peter permission to use the boat. We cannot follow Jesus if we do not listen to him. He wants us to listen. Simon heard Jesus and obeyed. (Luke 5:1-5)

The word nomophobia is coined as recent as 2008, it means the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. People under 35 are addicted to the cell phone. They look at their phones 50 times a day. They bring their cell phones to the bathroom. Are Christians as curious and sensitive to the Lord as the young people are with the cell phones? An experiment is conducted with money tied on the tree. Many did not notice as they were paying attention to their phones.

2        One step at a time

God does not give us further instructions until we follow his first instruction. We see Simon followed Jesus one step at a time.

To follow Jesus, we must realize there are time we do not feel like following. Simon was tired but he decided to do as Jesus said. To follow Jesus means we do what he asks us to do.

If we depend on feelings, more often than not, we will not follow Jesus.

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. (Luke 5:6,7)

The fishermen caught nothing. Yet, the catch was so great. They knew it was no ordinary catch.

We will never know what we miss if we do not follow Jesus. We will what Jesus could do if we do not follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, when we listen, we get more instructions from Jesus.

Our past can limit God’s work in our lives. It can be our past encounter and experiences. This is self-limitation.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8)

One of the greatest blessings it to see ourselves as God sees us. The more intimate we are with God, the less judgemental we are. We begin to see ourselves in others. We are more aware of the brokenness.

We get to know Jesus more and more by following him step by step. There is no shortcut.

So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:11)

They left everything including the fish. When we follow Jesus, it’s a radical transformation. Yet, the training of these men are not over.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33)

Because of wrong theology, some believe that nothing will go wrong when they follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, God will bless us. But we may still run into troubles and face challenges.

When we have the wrong theology, we think God is wrong when we face troubles. Sometimes we think we are alone.

Do we sometimes think God is slow? But God is always on time. He is seldom early but never late.

When we follow Jesus, our faith is stretched. Peter requested Jesus to command him to walk on water. Do not walk on water if God did not tell us to do so.

3         Fix our eyes on Jesus

When we walk on water, we may not always remain afloat. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus. Do not focus on man, or we will stumble. Sooner or later, man will disappoint us – by what they say, what they do not say, what they do, what they do not do.

How do we walk on water? We must first get out of the boat. Many of us want to stay in the comfort zone. Out of 12 disciples, only 1 requested to walk on water. The other 11 chose to remain in the boat.

What stories can we tell the next generations? Peter could tell about him walking on water. The other 11 could tell the story about Peter walking on water.

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