- Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition. --Abraham LincolnINTRO - Jesus’ words in our passage today don’t exactly “fit” they way we usually explain the plan of Salvation.Typically we say, “Just pray this prayer and you will be saved.”But, we don’t explain the implication of that simple prayer.Sure it is true that people are a prayer away from salvation.Salvation is free to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.But, it is also true that allowing Jesus to become your Lord requires total commitment to Him.Let me be clear.We don’t buy salvation by commitment.Salvation is not a transaction we make with God, but an attitude of complete commitment is part of being saved.In our text today Jesus uses a figure of speech, a hyperbole, an exaggeration to make a point.You will have to wrestle with the point that Jesus makes.Jesus will use the phrase “not worthy of me” three times in our two short verses this morning.Is grace unmerited favor?Sure it is, but there is a sense that we will never be worthy of Jesus.We will never do anything good enough to merit or deserve even one drop of Jesus shed blood.We will always be unworthy.Like the centurion said:But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.Or like John the Baptist we say:even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”But, their is another sense like the prodigal son says:And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’The Father in the prodigal son story would not hear of the son’s objection and treated him as a favored child.You and I are not worthy of God’s grace. But:We can be worthy of walking in fellowship withy God once He showers us with grace.Once God establishes our relationship with Him,we can walk with God andJesus will notice you andwhat you think, andsay you belong becauseyou are worthy to be His disciple.ESS - Our text will stress the importance of putting Jesus before all and everyone else.EST - Our message will explore what it means to be a Jesus follower and what that looks like.OSS - Following our message will be a time to reflect and respond to God’s Spirit and His Word.TRANS - Let’s dive into the Word as we find it in the book of Matthew.What does it say?Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.What does it mean?Our message is not the complete list of times Christians are called worthy in the NT.Today we look at 5, 2 from the gospels and 3 from the letters.Worthy are the Kingdom-focused followers.What is your worth?Are you walking with Jesus?If you are, then your mind is constantly thinking, “What can I do for Jesus today?”Are you radically seeking what God wants from you?Do you know put everything else aside to focus on the Kingdom?The Bible is clear:But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.The Bible calls every believer to embark on a lifetime Kingdom quest.When God says “make this your purpose” and then asks, “what did you do for me today?”What is your answer?
Did you hear about the man who is trying to visit every company-owned Starbuck’s in the world? John Smith, a.k.a. “Winter,” is a 32-year-old man has been on his quest for 7 years and has visited 4,122 stores in North America, 114 in Britain, and 53 in Japan. Though Winter is doing well, his quest will keep him busy for some time, because Starbuck’s opens an average of ten new company-operated stores around the world each week.Winter does just enough work to fund his quest for coffee.His trips are planned so he can visit enough stores and then he travels again.His car is is bed, which he says smells like stale coffee.In one day he hit 28 Oregon stores.
Winter’s quest began in Plano Texas in 1997. When the topic of the chain’s growth came up, Winter says an idea randomly popped into his mind. “What would it be like to visit every Starbuck’s?” After attending a concert later that year, and visiting a few Starbuck’s along the way, Winter was hooked.
Winter’s self-imposed rules require him to drink coffee at each store, so he usually asks for half a cup. Though he sometimes gets tired of the taste of coffee, Winter says, Starbuck’s is his life. He adds, “There’s no way to be finished unless Starbuck’s goes out of business or changes its name. Those are two scenarios under which I would essentially be done. But there’s really no such thing. The best I can hope for is to keep up. I can’t foresee myself stopping. It’s too rewarding an experience.”That is some dedication!I like coffee, but not going to dedicate my life to doing this.Dedication is something, but all the more worth it when to a worthy cause.Jesus requires complete commitment.Jesus calls you to radically seek Him like Winter seeks coffee.That is the reason for our text:Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.TRANS - The Bible teaches that Kingdom focused people have worth to Jesus.What else does this passage tell us has worth to God?Worthy are persecuted people.Persecuted people put themselves “out there.”When you walk with Jesus, focused on the Kingdom, then you know how to rejoice when persecuted.That’s what God’s Word tells us through the witness of the disciples:Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.Pain didn’t make the disciples happy, but knowing they were following Jesus did.In his book Mission to OZ author Mark Tabb wrote, “Sure, life goes better with Jesus, but that doesn’t mean life will be more comfortable or easier. Personally, I’ve found the opposite to be the case.. The more serious I am about walking with Christ, the harder the road becomes.”Following Jesus involves sacrifice.Jesus’ disciples were persecuted, yet they had joy because they understood what Jesus means by “taking up your cross.”TRANS - We addressed the worth of kingdom focus and persecution.Next we will look at what a worthy life looks like when put into practice.The person worthy to walk with the Lord.While many, next we will look at 3 places Paul notes Christian worth.A worthy Christian is working with others.Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,We have meetings, use our ministry tools, spend money, pray, and work hard with others so that other people will hear the gospel.In addition to making the gospel known, a worthy Jesus follower answers the call on their life.A worthy Christian is answering God’s call.To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,Did you note that God calls you?“worth of His calling”Each Jesus follower is called, given something special from God, to them for use.Do you know you are only worthy of walking with Jesus when you are doing what He wants you to do?We are not worthy if doing some self-prescribed idea or thing that other people want us to do.So, you are worthy if you are working with others for the sake of the gospel and if you are following your calling.Do you know how to test your worth?The Bible tells us how to know if a person is worthy.A worthy Christian is producing fruit from what they do.so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;If you are working with others and answering your call, this is the result.You bear fruit.Jesus has something to say about this:By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.What is God asking from me?Two weeks ago we addressed worship, last week fellowship, and this week discipleship.Do you want Jesus to say you are a worthy follower?According to the Bible, we can be a worthy disciple.Discipleship is one of the purposes of your life.If you walk with Jesus, if you offer Him complete commitment, and make your Kingdom quest priority one in your life you will live a most worthy life.Are you living the life of a Jesus follower.If not, you can.(end)
2 Thessalonians 1:11ESV
- Have Thine Own Way
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