Sermon – Be a radical, not a moderate. (John 1:35 – 1:42) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 6 of 58

Be a radical, not a moderate.

Chris Tilley, John 1:35 - 1:42, 23 January 2022

Chris continues our series in John’s gospel by preaching from John 1:35-41. In this passage we see John’s disciple’s responses to Jesus, and what it means for those who want to follow him today.

John 1:35 - 1:42

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).


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This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

The next day, John was there again with 2 of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, look, the lamb of God. When the 2 disciples heard him say this, they follow Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, what do you want?

They said, rabbi, which means teacher Where are you staying? Come, he replied, and you will see. So they went and saw where he was staying and they spent that day with him. It was about 4 in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was 1 of the 2 who had heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother, Simon, and tell him, we have found the Messiah that is the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus Jesus looked at him and said, you a Simon son of John. You will be called cephas, which when when translated is Peter. Good evening. My name is Chris Tilly.

I'm 1 of the elders here at Cornerstone Church. Again, let me extend my My welcome to you on top of Tom's. As we go through this next section in John this evening, let me pray before we start. Father do help us now. Help us to be challenged by what we hear help us as we come to your word and we see the footsteps of those who have gone before us and the the the decisions that they made.

And and the the wonderful relationship that they found in Jesus help us to take that and apply it to ourselves, our men. Well, I want to ask what does it take to radically change a person? What does it take to radically change a person. I'm not just talking about changing to veganism or something silly like that. I'm talking about what does it take to fundamentally to radically change a person's values, a person's behavior, or their character even.

What does it take to do that? What sort of life event would it would it take to affect that kind of a change in someone. Well, to to help us understand how that might work, I've turned to the well known oracle of truth that is career girls daily online. So ladies specifically might help you, but guys I think it probably cross applies. And here's some steps.

Right? Here's some steps that you'll find if you look out there for radical life change. If you wanna be successful, If you wanna be driven, if you wanna know how to achieve what you wanna achieve, radically change the direction of your life. This is what you need to do. Step 1, seek out your purpose.

Now the way that you do this is you need to know what defines you, what defines you, What makes you you? What do you what do you love? What are you passionate about? You need to know why you are here. What is your reason for existing on this earth.

You need to pin that down first. Once you've got that pin down, you then map out your vision. You need a 3, 5 and 10 year plan if you're gonna go anywhere at all. If you haven't got your 3, 5 and 10 year plan down guys, you're stuffed. You need to get that sorted.

And then, then you can take control. You can be the CEO of your own life. Be the boss, be the hero of your own life. Take control, make decisions, make things happen. That's what you need to do.

Once you've done that, here's the best 1, you can let go of other people's opinions. Nothing that anybody else has to say matters anymore. Especially if it disagrees with you. Listen to your own opinions, come to your own judgments and understandings of things. Then you need to change the way you think and you talk about yourself.

Don't be negative. Be positive. You're not a bad person. You're a great person. You're not a great person.

You're a fantastic person. You're the best and you can do whatever you set your mind to do. Number 7, shrink your comfort zone. Actually, that's quite a good 1. So, yeah, that that's not bad.

Drink your comfort zone. Get outside your comfort zone. That's not too bad. But then love yourself. This is where this is where the advice gets a tad on the condescending side because apparently we've all got that wrong.

We don't really understand what love yourself means. So according to career goals daily, to love yourself. Well, once upon a time, people thought that loving yourself meant that you were self absorbed. But we had it all wrong, everything's different now. It's okay.

Loving yourself means putting yourself ahead of everything and everyone and it's not self obsessed at all. And then you need to trust in fate. Sounds wishy washy because it is. Apparently, you just have to trust that for no apparent reason, things happen for a reason, if you can wrap your head around that sentence. There you have it.

Some steps to radically change your life for the better, take control, make it happen. Now, I know that that's just 1 website. It's not it's not even a famous web. I'd never heard of it before. I've started researching it.

But the views that it puts forwards are largely representative of the way our culture thinks, aren't they? If you look around for advice on how to be successful, how to how to radically change the course of your life. You're gonna find that sort of thing over and over again. You know, if you're into self improvement, wellness, all of that kind of stuff, those are the steps that you're gonna need to put into place. And I wanna say that it's all terrible, terrible advice and that there is actually a much much simpler and more effective way to dramatically improve your life for the good.

Now, don't worry, I haven't gone prosperity gospel on you. So bear with me. That's that's not what this is about. But do you wanna know what that what that is? What is that 1 step?

That 1 simple step. It is a magic bullet actually. People say there's no such thing as a magic bullet, nonsense, there is a magic bullet. There is 1 step that is gonna radically change you for the better, that will improve your character, that will change your behavior, that will lift your values and exchange your your small vision for a much much grander vision, a much much more important 1. Do you wanna know what that step is?

Yep. Great. Great. Fantastic. So I was gonna go home then, if no 1 was interested.

Well, in the immortal words of my own dear mother, Oh, Chris, you just need to follow Jesus. The sweetest words I've ever heard Oh, Chris, you just need to follow Jesus. And that is that is really what's going on in this passage here today. We meet 2 young men who are faced with that exact decision, are they gonna follow him, or are they not going to follow him? So whereas Rory started us off last week, we've looked at the lamb of God.

Today, we hit all the application. Today is basically all application heavy. We heard the theology last week, this is the application of all of that. And the first thing that we see here is an opportunity. There's an opportunity that comes knocking.

At the door. Look down with me at verse 35 and do keep your bibles open, you're going to need them open on this passage John chapter 1 because there's no slides, you're going to have to look at your bibles tonight, look with me at the text at verse 35 and it says this, The next day, John was there again with 2 of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, look, the lamb of God. So we basically start with a rerun of last week's sermon, where Rory was talking us through who the lamb of God is. And this week we're looking at what happens the very next day.

So, we're still at the River Jordan, we're still with John the Baptist. He's there, baptizing people has been for some time preaching, And the day before, John had seen Jesus walking past and had publicly stood up and said, look, the lamb of God, there he goes. And as Rory was telling us, the lamb of God is it's it's a loaded statement. It's full of old testament. It's full of meaning for the for the Jewish hearers there.

The lamb of God is God's chosen 1. He's the Messiah, he's the rescuer. He's gonna save God's people, the world from their sins. If they put their trust in him, he's the sacrificial lamb that is that is slaughtered in our place to pay for sin, and we have to put our faith on that sacrifice. That's what these guys were hearing when John goes look, the lamb of God.

Now, John himself had personally baptized Jesus at least 40 days earlier by this point. Although, he didn't reveal who Jesus was at that time, Probably because Jesus immediately disappeared into the desert to be tested by Satan for 40 days. We know that from the other accounts. But now he's back the following day, and John is saying, there he is. There he is.

And the difference in today's passage is that 2 of John's disciples are listening, and they hear him say it. And they see him pick him out in the crowd. And they now know who Jesus is. They can see the lamb of God with their own eyes I mean, maybe they were there at the previous day. Maybe they just didn't have time to fully process it.

Maybe they would absent and they're just hearing it for the first time. But either way, they have another chance because Jesus has passed by again, hasn't he. And John's pointed him out again, so they have an opportunity again to do something about this. And that's what you've got going on here. If we start to bring it bring it to us a little bit, apply it here.

What you have going on is Jesus passing by multiple times and you have his prophet on the Baptist saying, there he goes again and is that not what goes on here at Cornerstone, and it churches around the world every single week. Jesus keeps on coming around and his prophets, his people keep standing up and saying, there he is. Look at him, the lamb of God. And so Jesus in his grace and his patience keeps on extending to us the opportunity to follow him. So, what are we to do?

Well, let's look at these 2 disciples of John's here we come to a decision, the second point, a decision. Picking it up at verse 37, when the 2 disciples heard him say this, they turned and followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, what do you want? They said rabbi, which means teacher, where are you staying? Come, he replied, and you will see.

So they went and saw where he was staying and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour you may have in your bibles 4 PM. So, on hearing John, these 2 disciples make this initial decision to physically leave their current master and start following the 1 that he's pointed out. And they've been around John for long enough to know that John does not mess about. John is a straight talker.

He says what he means, he means what he says. So when John says, look, there goes the lamb of God. It's time to go. It's time to do something about it. And this is this is what John's whole ministry has been about, hasn't it?

This is the whole point of John. I mean, John's basically got 2 sermons, hasn't he? He's basically got the sermon that says, repent and be baptized. Repent and be baptized, repent and be baptized, get ready, make straight the paths for the lord. He just says that over and over and over and over again, that sermon number 1.

And the second sermon is, look, there's the lamb of God. Look, there's the lamb of God. He's coming, he's here. He's coming, he's here. That's John.

That's all that's that's his whole ministry. Quite easy for a preacher. You've just got 2 sermons and you do them on repeat. Fantastic. And John also states back in verse 27 that there is 1 coming after him, that thongs of whose sandals, he's not worthy to untie.

Like, you know, he's saying there's 1 coming, I can't even shoelaces up. I'm not even worthy to do something lowly like that. He is that much better than me. So John's disciples would have been used to this. They would have been they would have been expecting the lamb of God to appear.

But nevertheless, They still had to decide to leave John and follow Jesus here. They still had to make that choice. They still had to get up and go. They may have been thinking, what whoa? Right now, that's him there.

Didn't expect it today. I thought maybe sometime in a year. We're in a month or who knows, but not today, I've got stuff to do later, but they get up and they go. And clearly, it seems that not everybody did because they're the only 2, they're the only 2 that follow. So they start to go through the crowd, tailing Jesus through the crowds.

It's a little bit weird. But they're following him. The crowd's going the other way. They've all come to see John the Baptist. They've come to hear him preach, but they've missed the point.

These 2 disciples are going the other way. They're following the 1 John's pointed out. They've listened to the preaching. They're following him. And as they're going along the river banks, Jesus turns around, looks at them, and he asks them, what do you want?

Or in the in the King James, he says, what's seek you? Which I think is better. What seek you? What what are you looking for? What are you seeking?

What do you want from me? And so another decision? What do they say to this? What do they do? They say, rabbi, which means teacher, where are you staying?

Essentially, they're they're saying, we want you to teach us. We want you to be our teacher. We want you to be our master. We wish to learn from you. And Jesus graciously says, come and you will see.

And they spend the whole day with him. The whole of that day, they spend now that that bears some thinking about, doesn't it? That really does bear some thinking about what was that day like? What must that have been like to spend the whole day with the lamb of God? The whole day with the Messiah, hearing him speak on a range of different things, getting to know him on a personal level, Was he respectful?

Was he was he as respectful as they thought? Was he is was he as friendly and welcoming and loving to them as they thought, getting to know him on that personal sort of level, hearing him expound on the scriptures explaining the old testament. Making sense of it all, things that they'd always wondered about, and now they know. Understanding some of the mysteries of God, it's like the 2 disciples on the road to emmaus, and you know, as Jesus is explaining to them, all of the scriptures, their hearts are burning inside of them. I wonder if this is what this this day was like It must have been incredible.

I mean, perhaps they had had other plans for that day. I'm sure they probably did. They probably thought, well, we'll go down to the Jordan, we'll spend the morning back advertising people with John and listening to him preach. And then, we've got to go and sort out all the fishing boats in the afternoon and get ready for for tomorrow's working day. Actually, there's a ton of work to do and we need to be getting on with it.

But 1 thing is for sure, nothing that they had planned could possibly have been better than that afternoon that they spent with Jesus. For them, That afternoon changed everything. It was the pivotal moment in their lives. It changed the course of their lives. You could say you could say that they were radicalized There and then, they were radicalized in the best possible way.

They became radical because nothing else mattered anymore. Except this man that they had met. With their hearts burning inside and they can't think of anybody else and it and it shows in in their behavior and what they do next in what they go on to do. And so you see this picture of what's going on here. It starts to build more for us, doesn't it?

Because tonight, we've got Jesus passing by again. Tonight, his scriptures are being opened again, his word prophetically spoken again. Look, there he is, there goes There goes, your hero, everyone. There he is. Are you going to follow him?

Are you going to ask him to be your teacher? Are you willing to drop everything for him? Forget what you've got planned for your life. Find out what he's got planned for your life. I guarantee it's better.

I guarantee it's better. Not 1 of us in this room could come up with a plan for your life that even remotely matches up. To what he has planned. There's there's a there's a line from a film called 4 lions. It's just a brilliant line.

It's a brilliant film. And this line is I mean, I won't give you the context because context is slightly weird, but but the line's great nonetheless. They're trying to figure out how they get they get all the Muslims stirred up. And so 1 goes, brothers, I've got it. Radicalize the moderates.

That's what we need to do. I'm not going to say how they suggest they're going to do that. Radicalize the moderates. That's what's needed. Well, it's funny, isn't it?

Because our hearts are fairly moderate. Our hearts are not radical, not really. Our default setting for our hearts is is is moderation, balance, It's something it's I've actually wanted to preach on this quite a while. It's yeah butism. We're all yeah butters, really.

It's like a little mini religion we have in our hearts. Oh, yeah but yeah, but it's like putting the brakes on radicalism. It's putting the brakes on and trying to trying to say, oh, no, yeah, but I don't I don't have to quite go for it as much as that, do I? Do I have to give myself like that? Is Jesus calling me to to that kind of a following, to that kind of a faith.

And this is it goes a little bit something like this, this is how it kind of plays itself out. It's like, yeah, I like a bit of Jesus but I'm not sure about giving everything over. I might hold part of my life back or Yeah. I love going to church, but only once on a Sunday. I mean I mean, going twice.

Why would I do that? I've got I mean, after all. Yeah, but I'm busy. Yeah, but I've got work tomorrow. Yeah, but I've got a ton of stuff to do.

Yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but I know like, honestly, I know that we've all got different situations. Please don't hear me having a go at anyone. I'm not having a go at anyone here except for myself more than anything else. I know that we all have different situations, different demands on our time, different pressures, different responsibilities, But how often do we approach a situation and the first thought in our head is, oh, yeah, but I don't have to quite go for it that strongly, do I? I don't have to quite give all of that to it, do I?

We've got to be careful of yeah, but mentality, yeah butism. Be a radical Not a moderate. It's so much better. It's so so so much better. The blessings that you know of being involved fully wholeheartedly in ministry far outweighs the sacrifice.

Do you believe that? Do you believe that the more you give to Christ, the more you know the fullness of that? I wonder if we really do because we so often go, yeah, but and hold back. If these 2 disciples had had a year but mentality, yeah, but we can't go with them now because we can't settle the fishing for tomorrow, then we wouldn't have this book of John, actually. We would be missing the books of James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, there goes the morning sermon series.

We wouldn't have had this morning sermon, it wouldn't exist. You know why? Because 1 of these disciples is John. The other is Andrew, the brother of Peter, John is the brother of James. It doesn't say explicitly But if you know anything about John, John's a bit weird because when he writes about himself, he doesn't write about himself.

He calls himself later on the 1 that Jesus loved. I don't know why he doesn't say it was me. Anyway, this is John. It stands to reason that it's John. It means that we wouldn't have sentences like 1 of the most famous things ever written.

For God so loved the world that he gave his 1 and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Peter wouldn't have written things like he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross. So that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. By his wounds you've been healed, those things would never have been written. Wouldn't have happened.

If they'd have held back, got other things to do, better things to do, don't quite want to go for it. I've got other plans for my life, for my day. It brings us on to our final point here. Our final point is that Jesus gives us a new life to live. When we meet Jesus, we are invited to live a new life with different goals, different priorities, his goals, His priorities, not our own, look at verse 40.

Andrew Simon's brother was 1 of 2 who had heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him we have found the Messiah, that is the Christ. So having spent the day with Jesus, What is the first thing? Like he's already spent the whole day with Jesus. What's the first thing he rushes off to do?

He rushes off to get the person who's nearest and dearest to him, his brother, Simon. And he's like, Simon, come on, we'd like we've got to go. I found him. Me and John, we were with John, and we found him. The Messiah.

He's here. Xavier, the king. He's here. Come on we gotta go. Who is his brother?

It's Simon, but we all know him by another name, and that's Peter. Perhaps the best known of all of Jesus' disciples. I mean, this actually makes sense of all the other gospel accounts of Jesus calling his disciples. So if if you're anything like me and you're stupid and you When you first read those, you read them literally and in isolation, they go a little bit something like this in Matthew Mark and Luke. Jesus randomly turned up 1 day on the shore of Lake Galile and your and Simon were fishing on 1 boat and James and John fishing on another boat.

Jesus called out to them, come follow me and I will make you fishers of men. So they got out of their boats and followed this stranger immediately, no questions asked, James and John even left behind Zebedee, their father. And you've got to ask, what the heck is going on there? Why would anyone leave their livelihoods and family to follow this total stranger with actually quite kind of a local, a weird a kind of weird offer of, I'll make you fishes of men, except that he isn't a stranger to them at all. Is he?

They already knew who he was. We see it here in in John chapter 1. We see it I mean, it's so safe say that the other disciple in our passage is John himself because you've got Andrew telling his brother Peter. You've got John telling his brother James John's the 1 writing this account of what happened and so it stands to reason that John told James, he told Zebedee about it. And so when Jesus Finally comes and calls them to come and be his disciples.

Come on, follow me guys. I'm gonna make you fishers of men. They leap at the opportunity. They're crime. They're ready to go.

They're like, how Why did it take you so long to ask? We were good to go last week. What we're seeing is is is is how these disciples got to know Jesus before he came and called them on banks of late galilee. I mean Peter even had his name changed by Jesus before before all that happened. Look at verse 42.

He brought him to Jesus. That's Andrew bringing Simon. Jesus looked at him and said, you are Simon son of John. You will be called Seifas. Which when translated is Peter.

So Andrew bursting with excitement Not only tells Simon about Jesus, but he also brings him to Jesus. So what does Jesus do? He goes, yeah, I don't like your name. It's gonna be Peter. I mean, it's the first time the guys met him.

He's changing his name. And that I mean, that's a pretty personal thing. Yeah. No. You're not gonna be called Rory.

You're gonna be called Luke. It's a better name. Forget about your old name. We don't care about that anymore. What on earth is going on?

Why on earth is Jesus just changing someone's name about well. If you know anything about the bible and you then you know that names mean something. They're not like our names. Our names don't really mean much. I mean Phil, what does your name even mean?

Love of horses. Yes. She's, oh, isn't it? Doesn't mean anything? Have you ever had a horse?

No nonsense. But in the bible, names mean something. Now, Simon meant follower or listener, but Peter, Peter means rock or stone. It's it's what the Hebrew name Peter means. And it's a funny old name for for Jesus to choose for this character because if you know anything about Peter through the Gosh then you will know that he is anything but a rock or a stone like character.

So I mean throughout Jesus' ministry, let's just rattle off some of the key events. So he has Jesus shout at him, get behind me satan. When he tries to stop him going to the cross. He constantly misunderstands Jesus' teaching. Think of the Pharise and the yeast He thinks he's talking about bread and stuff like that.

He's completely confused. He cuts off the ear of the high priest servant with a sword. He's completely un misunderstood Jesus. And then the most tragic moment of his whole life, he denies that he ever knew Jesus, his friend his master, his savior, as he's being beaten and about to be crucified. He says, I I I don't know.

It's not me. It's nothing to do with me. 3 times. Jesus isn't telling Peter what he is. He's telling Peter, what he's going to turn him into, what he's gonna become, what he's gonna make him, that through following him, he's gonna become more stable.

Through sufferings and trials, he's gonna come more dependable, as he learns how to cope with a range of different situations leaning on Jesus. And that people are gonna look to him for leadership 1 day. He's gonna be a founding father of the church. And we see all this so clearly in acts, don't we? This this major transformation in the Peter of the Gospel and the Peter after Jesus has been crucified resurrected and has ascended.

It's just it's a different person. You almost can't even compare the 2, because when he stands up at pentecost, and he addresses the crowd in Jerusalem. He preaches a sermon that cuts into the heart, 3000 converted. He goes from denying ever knowing Jesus to standing in front of the leading authorities of the day and refusing to deny him on pain of death He's like, you want to stop me from preaching, you're gonna have to kill me because I'm gonna go straight back out and preach, and he does. It's amazing the difference.

And then he goes on to write 1 and 2 Peter, we were hearing about this morning. 1 Peter was where the sermon was this morning. Where he talks he talks about the real rock. Jesus, the cornerstone, on which everything is built. Jesus is the foundation.

Peter is just a brick in the wall, as we all are. Jesus takes an impulsive, quick tempered, unstable fisherman, a nobody, actually, a nobody He's not educated, he's not known, he has no status, and he elevates him to become a considered wise and stable leader in the church who goes on to preach sermons and write letters that have won thousands of souls for heaven over the centuries. We were still being affected by it this morning. That's this that's this man here. So the question for us is will we give ourselves over to Jesus to go to work on our lives?

Will we do it? I mean, fine, we may not be a Peter. In fact, none of us will be a Peter. He was an apostle. He was the first disciple.

It's slightly different with him. However, the principles all remain the same, don't they? The principles of it don't change. Jesus wants you to follow him. He wants you to sit under his teaching so that he can give you a new vision, a new purpose, a new name, so that you can be a builder of his church as dependable as a rock.

It's the only vision, it's the only purpose that matters in the end. Nothing else matters as much as that. As following Christ, as building his church, as getting ready for glory. You could have the greatest job You could earn millions, Saska. You probably will 1 day.

Earn millions. But if you don't use it to build Christ Church, then it's pointless, all for nothing. What a pathetic waste. You'll just squander it on self serving nonsense. You can't take it with you, it stays here.

You might have the the gift of children, a great gift. But if you don't bring them up in the knowledge and instruction and fear of the Lord, then, and and and you don't model what a radical Christ centered life looks like, then what a waste? Such an abuse to withhold the Lord from them. You may be rich in time and yet you squander it on doing things that you just enjoy. Many of us are quite rich in time.

But do we spend it in the way we should or do we fritter it away on self improvement on wellness, whatever that is? I mean, we're about to find out at media fast exactly how much time we do have. It's quite exposing. So so, yeah, look out for that. Let me make this clear now that your wellness doesn't come with focusing on yourself.

Your wellness comes with living a radical life for Christ. And the more you live for him, the the weller you will be, with wholeheartedly serving him and his church. When we do that, our lives are taken up. They become part of something bigger than ourselves, more valuable than just ourselves and our own silly ideas about what do and don't wanna do and I wanna travel to all these countries and I wanna get this job and I wanna have that house and wanna I wanna do this and that and the other. It's just it's all largely nonsense, isn't it?

If you go down that line, then you're you're basically back at those steps that we had at the start of the sermon. And if you follow those, then I guarantee you, your anxieties will increase. You will become disillusioned. You will become unfulfilled. That is not the way to radical life.

That is not the way to success. That's not the way to anything. That's a way to a self serving, unfulfilling, un Christ centred life. Follow Christ on the other hand and you gathered up You're into something much bigger than your your own self. You you'll have purpose and vision because they're his purpose, they're his vision.

You'll be building up other people, you'll be focusing outside of yourself, on others, on helping them. That's how you grow, That's how you grow. That's how you mature. That's how you're built. You're taken up into the only work that matters.

What else are we here for? When we're doing that, when we're focusing on telling people about Christ, it's the first thing Andrew goes and does. It's the first case of evangelism, anywhere about Christ. When we're doing that, that's how we grow. So we start on that journey.

That is when Christ changes us from unstable anxiety ridden messy humans into something altogether better. It's called sanctification. I'm not gonna go into that whole doctrine now, but it it's basically the process of becoming more like Jesus as you choose to follow him every single day and he goes to work on your life in a range of different situations and you have to trust him You have to trust that he is the boss, that he is in control, that he knows what he's doing. Not you, And most of all, that he is the sacrificial lamb of God sent to save you from your sins. Because without that, we're all stuffed.

I mean, I I I cannot impress on you enough how much, the more you hold yourself back, the less of yourself that you're willing to give fully to this work. The greater your anxieties are probably gonna be, the less you're gonna know the fullness of blessing of what it's like to work alongside brothers and sisters minimpering for Christ to building people up. There's joy. There's so much joy there. But equally, the the the more you throw yourself into following him.

The more you're going to experience the peace that comes from it as well. The decisions aren't on your shoulders anymore. The things that happen on your fault as such. He's got a plan. He knows what he's doing.

You're not the CEO of your own life. He's in control. That is an anxiety buster. That is a stress buster. It means that I can go into work and if I get sacked, I just sort of go, Okay.

That's rubbish. I don't really understand it, but I know that Christ is in control and he's got a plan here and he's working it out for me and it's gonna be for my good. It's exactly what we were hearing this morning. Suffering isn't gonna be withheld from you. I'm not saying that life is gonna be rosy and no problems are ever gonna touch you again.

In fact, it might be quite the opposite. In some ways, sufferings might increase but we'll be equipped to deal with it. We know that there's meaning in it. We know that he's building us He's working for our good. Without that, it's just meaningless nonsense.

How do you cope with it? I mean, Peter and John themselves, both persecuted and killed following Jesus. But what you know in the midst of all of it is an unsurpassed peace and joy in the knowledge that you're suffering in your life has purpose and it's to make you more like Christ, it's to refine you into pure gold. So let's finish on just a couple of applications. I've got I've only got 3, they're quick.

Let's finish on these. First 1, if you've never taken that step to follow Jesus. If you've never taken that step, then he's passing by again tonight. And he's being held up and people are saying, look, the lamb of God. And you can follow him.

Now, right now, you can make that decision. You can do that. Just like those 2 disciples did, they got up, they followed him, they sat with him, when called later they gave everything to go with him. You can ask him right now, right here tonight. If you've never done that, he's passing by again.

The opportunity is open again. The decision's there. You just have to ask him. If you take that step to follow him, he is gonna set you on a path with him, that he will walk every step of the way with you. He will.

He's not gonna abandon you. And the best thing about it, he's the 1 in charge. Not fate, not you, He's your boss, he's your hero. Or perhaps you've been following Jesus for many years and you've you've slipped into moderation or air butism. Perhaps perhaps that's where you're at.

Perhaps that strikes a chord. And it certainly does with me. Perhaps you look at yourself and you think, gosh, I'm slowing down. Like, I've I've taken my foot off the pedal slightly here. What happened to that first love I had When I first well, I didn't find him.

He found me. When my heart was on fire, what happened to that? Maybe you you you you see reasons to not be involved more and more rather than looking and praying for opportunities in which Jesus can can use you and grow you. Do you feel that? Perhaps, you've slipped into some form of comfort over the past 2 years.

I mean, it's that's easy, isn't it? Women sat at home doing largely nothing and it's hard to get back out again. It's hard to get going to you've always forgotten what things were like before. What did we used to do? Maybe it's time for you to shake things up a bit.

This could be an opportunity to come to Jesus and ask him in to to light that fire in your heart again. Make me full on for him again, and his kingdom radicalize me again. Come on. I wanna be radicalized. Or maybe you're just going well with the Lord and if that's the case, then praise God, you know, and this is you're in a season of of of busy, fulfilling, enjoyable, ministry, and growth.

And praise God, if that's the case, And if that is, then I hope that this has been an encouraging reminder to keep going with the Lord, to keep your foot on the pedal. And that he's at work in you, this very moment, this very moment, growing you in faith, strengthening you for battles ahead, and preparing you for eternity in glory with him. Let's take let's take a couple of minutes to consider our our positions in front of Jesus, and to pray quietly in our own hearts. And then Tom's going to come back up and close for us.

Preached by Chris Tilley
Chris Tilley photo

Chris is an Elder at Cornerstone. He is married to Bernadette, who is part of our safeguarding team, and they live in New Malden.

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