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Jesus was our model for decision making

NOTE: Jesus had to make many important decisions quickly for...
“Simon, sonof John, do you love me?”
Peterwas grieved. Sitting on the beachafter breakfast, Jesus hadjust asked
him for th...
Shame over pastfailures and sins can haunt and inhibit us in many ways. And
Satanseeks to stealand destroy our faith by sh...
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Jesus was our model for decision making

  1. 1. JESUS WAS OUR MODEL FOR DECISION MAKING EDITED BY GLENN PEASE NOTE: Jesus had to make many important decisions quickly for His time in history was going to be limited and He would die young. He made choices as to who would be His diciples and where He would go to preach, and who He would heal, and who He would eat with etc. He made endless decisions and choices and become our model for living a life like His. John 1:43 New International Version The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he saidto him, "Followme." "What we know to be true about Jesus is that He chose ordinary and unrefined men. They were the commonestof the common. They were from rural areas, farmers, and fisherman. Christ purposely passedoverthe elite, aristocratic, andinfluential men of societyand chose mostlythe men from the dregs of society." Jesus Chooses andUses Failures Article by Jon Bloom Staff writer, desiringGod.org
  2. 2. “Simon, sonof John, do you love me?” Peterwas grieved. Sitting on the beachafter breakfast, Jesus hadjust asked him for the third time if he loved him. Peterhad already wholeheartedly answeredyes twice. What else was he supposedto say? With these questions, the Lord was putting his finger on a very tender wound in Peter’s heart. Peter’s failure on the night of Jesus’trial had been simply horrible. In the hour of his Lord’s greatestanguish, Peterhad denied even knowing him. This sin shook Peterto the core of his being. Jesus had told him that he would do it.1 But in the Upper Room, over the Passovermeal, with his fellow disciples around him, Peterdid not believe it. He could still hear himself proclaim, “I will lay down my life for you.”2 He had had no idea how weak he really was. He had imagined himself boldly standing before the Sanhedrin side by side with Jesus, come whatmay. But that night, as Jesus was doing that very thing, Petercouldn’t even stand before a servant girl. “You also are not one of this man’s disciples are you?” He had completely caved: “I am not.”3 I am not. Those words had kept Peter up at night. He was supposedto be a rock.4 Thatnight he had crumbled into pieces. He was not who he thought he was. Peterhad never been less confident in himself. So when Jesus questionedPeter’s love for a third time that morning, Peter grieved that he might have lost the Savior’s trust. He had failed. But he did love him. All he could do was appealto Jesus’omniscience: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” And Jesus did. In fact, later Peterrealized what Jesus had done in that painful conversation. He had not doubted Peter’s love at all. Rather, he had allowed Peterto confess his love for every wretcheddenial he had made on that dreadful night. Amazing grace. And the Lord had a word for Peter. In the future there would be another opportunity to confess his love publicly in the face of greatcost. And then he said, “Follow me.”
  3. 3. Shame over pastfailures and sins can haunt and inhibit us in many ways. And Satanseeks to stealand destroy our faith by shoving our failures in our face. But Jesus intends to redeem us completely. When Jesus chose you to be his disciple, he foresaw your future failures as sure as he foresaw Peter’s. We may not want to believe that we could deny Jesus by engaging in a sin that contradicts everything we believe. But Jesus knows what is in us.5 So he exhorts us along with Peter to “watchand pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”6 And when we do fail, we must remember what Jesus saidto Peterbefore his failure: “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthenyour brothers.”7 Peterwas going to sin — miserably. But Jesus had prayed for him. Jesus’prayer was strongerthan Peter’s sin, and it’s strongerthan our sin too. “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercessionfor them.”8 And Jesus is the greatrestorerof failures who repent. Jesus had said to Peter “when you have turned again[repented], strengthenyour brothers.” And there on the beachhe againgave Peterthe greatestinvitation any of us can receive on earth: “follow me.” The failure was to be left behind. There was kingdom work to do, and eternal life to enjoy. Peter’s failure did not define him. And ours will not define us. They are horrible, humbling stumbles along the path of following Jesus, who paid for them all on the cross. And Jesus specializesin transforming failures into rocks of strength for his church.
  4. 4. John 13:38 ↩ John 13:38 ↩ John 18:17 ↩ Matthew 16:18 ↩ John 2:25 ↩ Matthew 26:41 ↩ Luke 22:32 ↩ Hebrews 7:25 ↩ Jon Bloom(@Bloom_Jon)serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He is author of three books, Notby Sight, Things Not Seen, and Don’t Follow Your Heart. He and his wife have five children and make their home in the Twin Cities. RAY PRITCHARD Why God ChoosesSplendid Sinners and Lovable Losers 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Listen to this sermon I am not quite sure how I came to this sermon title, except that it startedwith an apparently random comment I heard recently when a goodfriend confessedto being a “repetitive sinner.” I pondered that expressionbecause I hold this friend in high esteemas a truly godly person. I see much to admire and very little that seems like “repetitive sin” to me. And yet there it was.
  5. 5. Repetitive sinner. In truth, that’s the way I feelabout myself much of the time. If I am honest, I freely confess that I fall far short of what I want to be. With the Apostle Paul in Romans 7, I declare that what I don’t want to do I do, and what I want to do I don’t do. Which makes me a repetitive sinner and (in the language of Romans 7), a “wretchedman.” To put the matter that way calls to mind these lines found in the prayer of generalconfessionfrom the Book ofCommon Prayer(written in 1662): We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; Those two sentences diagnosethe truth about my own condition. I am a repetitive sinner, guilty of sins of omissionand commission. The particular phrase “splendid sinners” comes from something I read a few months ago by J. C. Ryle, the famous evangelicalAnglicanbishop of the late 1800s.In his book calledHoliness, he wrote about how all the saints fall short of perfection: The holiestactions of the holiestsaint that ever lived are all more or less full of defects and imperfections. They are either wrong in their motive or defective in their performance, and in themselves are nothing more than “splendid sins,” deserving God’s wrath and condemnation. This is a much-needed word for a generationof Christians with an inflated sense ofself-importance. Apart from God’s grace, evenour bestefforts are nothing more than “splendid sins.” In my better moments, which are all too few, I realize that even my best efforts fall well over into the “splendid sins” category. Ryle has told the truth about the best of us and the restof us. This side of heaven, we’re a pretty sorry lot, but that’s where God’s grace comes in. No one will be savedby what they do. Our only hope of heaven is to run to the cross andlay hold of Jesus Christ. And we won’t even do that unless God helps us to do it, and even then he must give us the strength to hang on and to keepbelieving.
  6. 6. Apart from God’s grace, evenour best efforts are nothing more than “splendid sins.” We are all … Splendid sinners, Lovable losers, Miserable misfits, and Fantastic failures. During a radio interview I was askedwhy so many of the heroes ofthe Bible had serious flaws. My answerwas simple. That’s all God has to work with. All the perfectpeople are in heaven. The only ones on earth are the folks with serious weaknesses. The talentpool has always been pretty thin when it comes to moral perfection. So God works with sinners because that’s all he has to work with. In heaven we will all be vastly improved–perfected by God’s grace. But until then, he uses some pretty ornery people who fall short in many ways–andhe does some amazing things through them. Considerthe roll callof God’s imperfect heroes: The talent pool has always beenpretty thin when it comes to moral perfection. Noahwho got drunk. Abraham who lied about his wife. Jacobwho was a deceiver. Moses who murdered an Egyptian. Rahab who was a harlot. Samsonwho had serious problems with lust and anger. David who was an adulterer. Paul who persecutedthe church.
  7. 7. Peterwho denied Christ. If God chose only well-rounded people with no characterflaws, some ofthe credit would inevitably go to the people and not to the Lord. By choosing flawed people with a bad past, a shaky present, and an uncertain future, God alone gets the glory when they accomplishamazing things by his power. In case we don’t understand this, 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 makes it abundantly clear. If you want the message ofthis passagein one sentence, here it is: God won’t tolerate human pride, so he chooses people who have nothing to brag about. I. The FactStated “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Notmany of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth” (I Corinthians 1:26). Paul begins by reminding them of what they were when God savedthem. The word “called” refers to their position in the world when they came to Christ. Not many of them came from the educated or upper classes ofsociety. Notmany had what the world calls “good breeding.” (The term “noble birth” translates a Greek wordfrom which we get the English word “eugenics.” The Corinthians by and large did not come from “blue blood.”) In a sense, he holds up a mirror and says, “Take a good look. What do you see?” Ifthey were honest, they didn’t see many impressive people. They saw ordinary men and women, from undistinguished backgrounds, whose lives had been utterly transformed by Jesus Christ. Memory can be a blessing or a curse. In the spiritual life, it canbe very healthy to remember what life was like before we met Jesus. If you remember where you started, you’ll appreciate much more the grace of God that has brought you to where you are today. In the spiritual life, it can be very healthy to remember what life was like before we met Jesus. Our text tells us that when God chooseshis team, he starts with the people the world chooses last. He actually prefers to choose the weak insteadof the strong. We must not miss the implication of this teaching. It’s not as if God
  8. 8. intends to take equal numbers from every socialclassin the world. And it’s definitely not true that God populates the church from the upper classesbut sprinkles in a few from the lowerclasses. The opposite is closerto the truth. God populates his church with the rejects of the world and then sprinkles in a few wealthy and powerful people. He prefers losers. Goddeliberately chooses the forgottenof the world and he prefers the company of the poor. He loves to save the uneducated, the foolish, the addicted, the broken, the downcastand the imprisoned. In short, he specializes in saving those whom the world counts as nothing. II. The ReasonGiven “But God chose the foolishthings of the world to shame the wise;God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boastbefore him” (I Corinthians 1:27-29). In these verses Paul makes his teaching even clearer. Godchooses“weak things” and “lowlythings” and “despisedthings” and even “things that are not.” These “things” are actually people—weak people, lowlypeople, despised people, and people who are invisible to the world. In short, God makes a choice, and the choice he makes is to choose the people the world would never choose. The words of Isaiah55:8 come to mind, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’declares the Lord.” Here’s a simple wayto remember this truth: God is different. Ponder that statement for a moment. God is different from us. He is different in what he thinks and he is different in what he does. He does not do what we expecthim to do because his thinking is entirely different from ours. He nullifies the mighty by using the weak instead. He nullifies the proud by using the humble. He nullifies the wise by using the simple. He nullifies the professionalby using the blue-collar worker. He nullifies the PhD by using the high schooldropout. God’s “nullification” demonstrates how fundamentally different he is from us. This truth—elementary as it may seem—is actuallyquite vital to a healthy Christian worldview. Our God stands alone. He does not bind himself to do what we think he ought to do. He is holy and he is sovereignand he is absolutely free to do whateverhe pleases to do. He can humble the proud any time he chooses. No one has the power to stand againsthim.
  9. 9. Our God stands alone. He does not bind himself to do what we think he ought to do. Considerthe implication of the text. When the world throws a party, the beautiful people are always invited. You know the names: Ben Affleck, J-Lo, JessicaSimpson, Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Tom Cruise, 50 Cent, Halle Berry, Shania Twain, Jennifer Anniston, Mariah Carey, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, and the restof the current crop of Hollywood superstars. They rent a nightclub and hire a security team to keepthe ordinary people out. Only the “in crowd” makes it past the rope line. Helicopters circle overhead and the paparazzi strain to a get a picture they cansell to People magazine. It’s all about who shows up and who is wearing what kind of dress, and trying to match this man with that woman. That’s how the world throws a party. But God does it differently. Jesus told a story in Luke 14:15-24 abouta certain man who invited many guests to a huge banquet. All the invited guests made a series ofexcuses—theywere too busy, they had other plans, they had business to attend to, and a hundred other “legitimate” excuses. So the master ordered his servants to go out into the highways and byways and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. When that had been done, there were still some empty seats so he told his servants to go out into the country roads and find anyone who had been overlookedand invite them to come to the party because the master declaredthat every seatmust be taken. If those who had been invited first would not come, then the master would go after the outcasts who would never otherwise come to such a fine affair. That’s how Goddoes it. He goes afterthe people the world overlooks becausethe “beautiful people” have no interest in coming to him for salvation. God does it this way for three reasons: 1) To destroyall human pride, 2) So that no one canboast, and 3) So that all would be equal in God’s family. We need to hear this word because AmericanChristianity is entertainment- oriented and celebrity-driven. We are far too prone to swoonoverthe latest
  10. 10. “celebrityconversion” and to rush the latest“hot convert” to the pulpit so that we can all applaud and congratulate ourselves oncatching such a big fish for God. When I first came to the church in Oak Park, there was a certain very important personwith a large public reputation who attended our church. To be precise, he had attended some years earlier and had left to go elsewhere.But he came on my first Sunday and attended another six or seven times over my first couple of years at the church. I know how many times he came because everytime he came, every single time, someone (usually several people) would come rushing up to me with the news, “PastorRay, Mr. So- and-So is here. You’d better go and say hello to him.” It was big news because he was so well known. And I guess it made us feel better somehow that he was here. I experiencedthe same thing years later when someone rushed up to me and said, “PastorRay, StevenCurtis Chapman is here today.” It was true, and I met him, and I’m happy to report that he was a very gracious, humble, unassuming sort of person. Not at all the celebrity persona you might have expected. For that matter, the “very important person” from many years ago was also quite friendly. To be clearabout it, I’m happy when anyone visits the church, and I think it’s wonderful when well-knownor popular people come to worship the Lord. That’s always an encouraging thing. Nothing wrong with celebrities coming to church and nothing wrong with being glad to see them. But I’ve been waiting for someone to say, “PastorRay, guess what? We’ve got two prostitutes visiting the church today. Isn’t that wonderful?” Or “Pastor Ray, there’s a man here with AIDS and he wants to know Jesus.” Or“Pastor Ray, here’s a single mother with six children. This is her first time to visit.” Or “PastorRay, this man just got out of jail and he came to worship with us today.” The sin is not that we make much of the celebrities;it’s that we make so much less ofthe other people who visit us. And while I’m on the subject, I should mention that occasionallysomeone will say, “I wish so-and-so would get saved. They have so much to offer,” which usually means they have money they could give. Is God so broke that he needs another banker in his family? Is God so confused about the economythat he needs another stockbroker on his team? Nothing could be more worldly than valuing lost people basedwhat we think they could contribute to God’s Kingdom.
  11. 11. III. The Purpose Explained “It is because ofhim that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness andredemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boastin the Lord’” (I Corinthians 1:30-31). The reasonGoddoes what he does is to demonstrate that he alone is the source of our salvation. “It is because ofhim that you are in Christ Jesus.”It’s not your wisdom or your intellect or your memorized Bible verses that brought you to Jesus. And you are not a Christian because you are a goodperson or a church member or because your father was a preacherand your mother was a Sunday Schoolteacher. Paulsays plainly: “It is because ofhim.” Salvationis of the Lord. God wants us to know that he is the reasonwe came to Christ. And in Christ we find wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption. If we believe this, then our boastwill be in the Lord alone. When it comes to salvation, we contribute nothing but the sin that makes it necessaryto be saved. Goddoes the rest. God chooseswhom he pleases, andhe does so by choosing those whom the world overlooks. Nothing could be more worldly than valuing lost people basedwhat we think they could contribute to God’s Kingdom. If we believe what this passageteaches, itwill change the way we look at ourselves, and it will change the way we talk about ourselves. Some of us talk so much about ourselves that we hardly talk about the Lord at all. Our real problem is the vast difference betweenour view and God’s view. We look at the outward. God looks atthe inward. We value popularity. God values character. We look at intelligence. Godlooks at the heart. We honor those with money. God honors those with integrity. We talk about what we own. God talks about what we give away. We boastabout whom we know. God notices whom we serve. We list our accomplishments. Godlooks for a contrite heart.
  12. 12. We value education. God values wisdom. We love size. God notices quality. We live for fame. Godsearches forhumility. Our view is shallow. God’s view is deep. Our view is temporary. God’s view is eternal. We list our accomplishments. Godlooks for a contrite heart. At the end of the day, we discoverthat God destroys human pride two ways: 1) By sending a Saviorto die on a hated Romancross, 2) By choosing the weak over the strong to be part of his family. We wouldn’t have done it this way, but that brings us back to the fundamental point that God is different. He doesn’t play by our rules. When we lived in Chicago, I often heard the Chicago Cubs described as “lovable losers,” a reference to the fact that they haven’t won the World Series since 1908.Thatfact is a source of sorrowfulpride to Cubs fans everywhere because a true Cubs fan says, “If it takes forever, I’m sticking with my team.” It’s been a long time since their last championship, and even the most loyal fans might be tempted to give up, but as Harry Carayfamously remarked, “Any team can have a bad century.” I remember the heartbreak in 2003 whenthe Cubs were five outs awayfrom going to the World Series. How did they manage to lose those lasttwo games? It’s still a mystery to me. I thought about the term “lovable losers” as I prepared this message. That strikes me as a gooddescription of those whom God choosesforhis church. No matter where we come from, in God’s eyes we are all just “lovable losers.” In the spiritual sense, we’re allCubs now. When God chooses members for his team, he doesn’t look for superstars. He goes after“lovable losers” and he picks them out one by one. “But I can’t pitch,” you say to the Lord. “I can’t hit or field or bat. I don’t even know how to play baseball.” It doesn’t matter, the Lord replies. “Jesus is the captain of the team, and he’s never lost a game yet.” There is a method to God’s selectionprocess.When the team finally
  13. 13. wins, Jesus alone will getthe credit, not the “lovable losers” who played alongside him. We didn’t do so well, but in the end, it doesn’t matter because the Captain of our Salvation won the victory, and when he won, we won with him. No matter where we come from, in God’s eyes we are all just “lovable losers.” By arranging things this way, God destroys human pride and glorifies his Son at the same time. Only God could have conceivedofa waythat losers could become winners through associationwith his Son. Church of the Pathetic Losers A few years ago during the annual Pastors Conference atMoodyBible Institute, Alistair Begg, pastorofthe Parkside Church in the Clevelandarea, spoke on our need to depend fully on the Lord and not on our own resources. As he came to the close, he told the story of how King Jehoshaphatprayed in 2 Chronicles 20. As the enemy armies closedin on Jerusalem, the king cried out to the Lord in the presence ofall the people, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (v. 12). Alistair Begg commentedthat he was really saying, “Lord, we’re just a bunch of pathetic losers. And if you don’t help us, we’re sunk.” He went on to saythat he had discoveredthat this was the true mission statementof the church he pastors:“We’re just a bunch of pathetic losers and if God doesn’t help us, we’re sunk.” That’s a goodname for a church: “Church of the Pathetic Losers.” Youwould never run out of prospects. I think he’s absolutely right. Apart from God’s grace, that’s all we are—just a bunch of pathetic losers. Without God, we don’t have a chance, we don’t have a thing to offer, and we don’t even know what to do next. Sometimes I think the hardestjob God has is getting his children to admit how desperatelythey need him. So let me sayit clearly to everyone who reads these words:I am a pathetic loser. Apart from the grace ofGod, I own up to the truth that in me, that is in my flesh, there is nothing goodat all. Whatevertalent I possess,and whatevergoodI have accomplished, the power to do it has come from the Lord, and he alone gets the credit.
  14. 14. Sometimes I think the hardest job God has is getting his children to admit how desperatelythey need him. At the same Pastors Conference, JosephStowell, then president of Moody Bible Institute, commented that many days he is sick of himself. I understand that and say“Amen” to it. When I mentioned that in a sermon, a man told me he had stayed up all night wrestling with the Lord because he too was sick of himself. A womanadded, “Sometimes I geton my own nerves.” All of us (if we are honest) are sick of ourselves sooneror later. I heard about a pastorwho came up with a phrase that he printed at the top of their church bulletins even though some of the leaders didn’t feel comfortable with it: “Blunder Forward.” After serving 27 years in pastoral ministry, I cantestify how true that is. Even on our best days, we struggle as God’s people to simply “blunder forward.” And some days we can’t even do that. Are we really “pathetic losers?”Yes, and we don’t know the half of it. And that brings me back to the original question. Why does Godchoose splendid sinners and lovable losers? Why are there so many miserable misfits and fantastic failures in God’s family? The answeris two-fold: 1) God chooseslosers because that’s all he’s gotto work with. 2) God chooseslosers because thatway he alone gets the credit for anything goodwe accomplish. Here is the goodnews. When splendid sinners and lovable losers and miserable misfits and fantastic failures band togetherto seek the Lord, amazing things happen. The Red Sea parts, the walls come tumbling down, the enemy is routed, and the church rolls on for the glory of God. Amen. 12 Disciples – How Did Jesus Choose His Twelve Disciples? by Bob Pardue
  15. 15. Postedon July 29, 2018 12 disciples “Follow me.” This is the simple statementmade by Christ which changedthe world forever. This study includes how Jesus chose the 12 disciples. How Jesus Chose The 12 Disciples Today’s Bible study lessoncomes from Mark 3:13-19. It tells how Jesus chose some fishermen& a tax collector, along with others – and turned them into His twelve disciples who became heroes of the Bible. What are the names of the twelve disciples? I Had to Look Them Up – How about You? This is common question which is answeredhere along with the simple way Jesus chose His 12 followers. These were simple men who would accomplishgreatthings in history; as we will learn in this Bible study lessonfrom Mark. Jesus Chooses His 12 Disciples And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to castout the demons. And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder”); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and
  16. 16. Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. – Mark 3:13-19 NASB So, What are the 12 Disciples’Names? No, I couldn’t name them all either. But, to refreshyour memory – here are the 12 disciples names (not in any certain order)… Simon – Now knownas Peter James sonof Zebedee John (James’brother) Andrew Phillip Bartholomew Matthew Thomas James sonof Alphaeus Thaddaeus Simon the Zealot Judas Iscarlot Why Did Jesus ChooseTwelve Disciples?Why Not Eight – Or More? Just a little backgroundabout the disciples. Why would Jesus pick 12 disciples – and not 5, 20, or even 1,000 disciples? A footnote to this passageaboutthe disciples is that Jesus had many disciples who followedHim. These followers wentout and spreadthe word about His ministry. But, the twelve disciples were the “inner circle“, so to speak.
  17. 17. Here is a Possible Answerfor Why There Were 12 Disciples According to Matthew 19:28, the number 12 is very significant as it relates to the twelve tribes of Israel. And, it shows the relationship betweenthe newness of Jesus’messageand the old religious systemunder Jewishlaw. “And Jesus saidto them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followedMe, in the regenerationwhenthe Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” – Matthew 19:28 NASB Jesus had crowds of people following him. But, He focusedmore on training the 12 chosento be Apostles. An Apostle is someone who represents oris a messenger. Jesusneededpeople with the willingness to obey him. In modern times, an apostle ofthe Bible is someone who actually saw Christ in person. How do We Compare to the Twelve Disciples? 12 disciples The disciples were simple people. They ranged from fishermen to tax collectors.Mostwere not well educated. But Jesus chose them according to God’s plan. We may be more talented, more educated, know more people, or show more leadership ability than many of the disciples. But, the key word in the scripture is Obey. These twelve men will go on to catapult the beginning of Christianity – risking their own lives in the process. We most likely won’t have to risk bodily harm to tell others about Jesus. But, are we as willing as these 12 disciples when it comes to obeying Christ when He calls us to do a task?
  18. 18. Love in Christ – Bob If you are curious about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to look at John 3:16 to discovermore. 6 Times When Jesus Chose Solitude Over People by Ward Cushman There’s A Place ForSolitude In All Our Lives T here are two ways we learn from the Bible. The first is how you would expect, through instructions. Forexample, we’re told, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” Ephesians 4:32. This verse teaches us that 1) angerisn’t automatically sin, 2) it’s something we have to be careful about, 3) we’re not supposedto stay angry at people. The Bible is filled with teaching like this to help us in our Christian lives. A secondway we learn from the Bible is by examples, both goodand bad. The Bible is full of stories that tell us about how people succeededand failed in various circumstances. As we read them we learn lessons thathelp us through life. There are some topics that the Bible doesn’t instruct us about that we only learn about this way, such as seeking solitude. Some people rejectthe idea that solitude is important for Christians because there’s no verse in the Bible that says to seek solitude. Those same people, however, don’t reject the idea of going to church even though there’s no verse that explicitly says to go to church.
  19. 19. The way to learn about solitude is to watchwhat Jesus did Click To Tweet The best wayto learn about the value of solitude is from Jesus’life. We’re fortunate that the Bible records a number of times when Jesus separated himself from people. In looking through these we cansee there were 6 different reasons why Jesus spenttime alone. 6 ReasonsJesus ChoseSolitude Over People To prepare for a major task Luke 4:1-2, 14-15. After Jesus was baptized He spent 40 days praying in the wilderness. After this He was tempted by Satan and then beganHis public ministry. To recharge after hard work Mark 6:30-32. Jesus sentthe 12 disciples out to do ministry. When they returned He encouragedthem to separate from the people who were following them to rest. To work through grief Matthew 14:1-13. After Jesus learnedthat his cousin John the Baptisthad been beheaded, He went awayby Himself. Yes, even the Son of God grieves. Before making an important decisionLuke 6:12-13. Earlyin His ministry Jesus spentthe whole night alone in prayer. The next day He chose his 12 disciples. In a time of distress Luke 22:39-44. Hours before Jesus was arrestedHe went to the Mt. of Olives and went a short distance awayfrom His disciples to pray. He was in great emotionalagony knowing what he was about to face. To focus on prayer Luke 5:16. Many times in Jesus’ministry He spent time alone in prayer. Time spent in solitude with Godis not time spent alone Click To Tweet
  20. 20. Solitude can benefit us greatlyif we use that time to sort through with the Father whateveris on our minds and in our hearts. Think about your day and plan to carve out some time to spend alone with the Father. Do you find it hard to spend time in solitude? Why is it hard to do? Leave a comment or question below. Why did God choose me? Question:"Why did Godchoose me?" Answer: In John 15:16 Jesus says, “Youdid not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last— and so that whateveryou ask in my name the Father will give you.” Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in him before the creationof the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” First Peter2:9 says, “You are a chosenpeople, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s specialpossession, that you may declare the praises of him who calledyou out of darkness into his wonderful light.” It is undeniable that God has chosenthose who are believers in Jesus. But why? Is there something specialabout me that led God to choose me? The short answeris, no, God did not choose us because ofanything inherent in ourselves. He chose us out of His love and mercy, and for His glory. Ephesians 1 goes onto say, “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordancewith his pleasure and will—to the praise
  21. 21. of his glorious grace, whichhe has freely given us in the One he loves” (verses 5–6). We see that God’s choosing ofus is linked to His love. God’s choice is something that gives Him pleasure and brings Him praise. God’s choosing of us highlights His gracious character, notour merit. As we know from Ephesians 2:8–9, we are not savedbecause of our goodworks but solely because ofGod’s grace. We are all sinners who fail to measure up to God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Apart from Jesus alldeserve death (Romans 6:23). But in Jesus we can have life. It is not because ofwho we are that God chooses us but because ofwho He is. As 1 Peter 2:9 indicates, the proper response to being chosenby God is to declare God’s praise and give Him worship. God also chose us so that we could join in His work in the world. Ephesians 2:10 says God has prepared goodworks in advance for us to do. Jesus spoke of His followers’bearing fruit that would last. Ephesians 1:4 links electionto being holy and blameless in God’s sight. God chose us because He has a purpose in mind for our lives. The Old TestamentfocusesonIsrael as God’s chosenpeople (Deuteronomy 7:6). In Deuteronomy7:7–9 Mosestells the children of Israelwhy God chose them: “The Lord did not sethis affectionon you and choose youbecause you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewestof all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors thathe brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemedyou from the land of slavery, from the powerof Pharaohking of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenantof love to a thousand generations ofthose who love him and keephis commandments.” Once again, we see that God’s choice is not basedon the merit of a particular person or nation, but solelyon His love and faithfulness. Just as God chose Israelout of love and not because ofsomething impressive about the nation, God choosesus out of love. As 1 John 3:1 says, “Seewhat
  22. 22. greatlove the Fatherhas lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Why did God choose me? BecauseofHis great love, His lavish love. The doctrine of predestination is difficult to grasp. We naturally tend to think that those who are predestined are chosenbecause ofsome merit of their own. After all, that is how we tend to choose.We remember picking teams for P.E.—everyonechoosesthe tallest, fastest, mostathletic, most popular, etc., to be on their team. But God is not like that. His criterion for choosing is not basedon us. “Consideryour calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose whatis foolish in the world . . . God chose whatis weak in the world . . . God chose what is low and despisedin the world, even things that are not . . . so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because ofhim you are in Christ Jesus”(1 Corinthians 1:26–30, ESV). Why did God choose me? He chose you to demonstrate His character. He chose you that you may know Him and love Him. He chose you because He is love (1 John 4:8), He is gracious, He is merciful, and He has a glorious plan for you. https://www.gotquestions.org/why-did-God-choose-me.html BIBLEHUB RESOURCES
  23. 23. Bringing Men To Jesus John 1:42 D. Young Jesus asksAndrew, "Whatseek ye?" and the question soonshows fruit in Andrew seeking outhis own brother Simon. The New Testamentdeals with spiritual things, but that does not prevent it from being full of natural touches. What Andrew did is just the very thing which in like circumstances we might have been expectedto do. And surely it is the most reasonable ofconjectures that Andrew, who began by bringing his own brother, must have been the bringer also of many who were mere strangers. Interestin natural kinsmen would soonbe merged in the wider interest a Christian must feel in humanity at large. Peterwas Andrew's first gift to Jesus, and he may have been the easiest. To bring a human being into real, loving contactwith Jesus is not an easything; but what a service, whata blessing and a joy, to every one concerned! I. Andrew was able to bring Peterto Jesus because HE HAD FIRST OF ALL BEEN BROUGHT HIMSELF. Andrew had first of all been himself the subject of spiritual illumination. God must have shined in his heart to give the light of the knowledge ofthe glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He had been brought to Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. The acquaintance had been very short, but a great dealmay be done in a short time when the human heart has been getting ready to meet with Christ, when there is perfect openness and simplicity of mind - truth on one side and an eagerseekerafter it on the other. To get other people as far as Peter, we must first of all have got as far as Andrew ourselves. How should the blind lead the blind? We must not wait for an Andrew. God has his ownagencyfor us. He may send some John the Baptist, saving, "Behold!" to us. We must considerwell the obstacles in our way to Jesus, whichnone can remove but ourselves - procrastination, bosom sins, spiritual indolence, neglect'of the Scriptures. II. CONSIDERWHO IT WAS THAT ANDREW BROUGHT. his own brother Simon. So natural brotherhood is distinguished from that spiritual brotherhood which afterwards sprang into existence as regeneratedbelievers
  24. 24. in Christ felt the strong tie binding them together. What brother ought not to be to brother, and yet what he may very easilybecome, is shownfrom Cain and Abel, and Josephand his brethren. What brother ought to be to brother is shown in this seeking ofSimon by Andrew. Great opportunities are given by natural brotherhood, mutually cherished. Give every goodthing in nature a chance to become also a minister of grace. III. CONSIDER WHAT ANDREW SAID TO PETER. "We have found the Messiah."This is as much goodnews for us as it was for Peter. What Andrew said he said at first, after a very brief acquaintance;but he would go on saying it all the more as day after day opened up the riches of Messiah's missionand power. Observe the plural form of the announcement. The other disciple agreedwith Andrew in his judgment. Look out for those and listen to them who bear the same messageas Andrew, though not in quite the same form. We have words and acts of Jesus constantlyforcedon our attention. If we cannot be brought to Jesus, Jesus is brought to us. All bringing of men to Jesus must be preceded, more or less, by bringing of Jesus to men. Andrew must have brought such a vivid and powerful accountof his talk with Jesus as would amount practically tea bringing of Jesus. - Y. Biblical Illustrator Jesus... findeth Phillip. John 1:43, 44 Moralimitation D. Thomas, D. D. I. MAN'S MORAL CHARACTER DETERMINESHIS DESTINY. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" in his — 1. Experience, whetherhappy or miserable. 2. Prospects, whetherterrific or inviting.
  25. 25. 3. Influence, whether useful or pernicious. 4. Relations. (1)To God, whether approved or condemned. (2)To the universe, whether a blessing or a curse. II. MAN'S MORAL CHARACTER IS FORMED ON THE PRINCIPLE OF IMITATION. This is seenin children, and the Romans, recognizing this, placed in their vestibules the busts of greatmen, so that the young might be reminded of their virtues. The seedof a child's actionis not teaching, but deeds. III. THE FORMATION OF A GOOD CHARACTER REQUIRES A PERFECTMODEL. SirJoshua Reynolds found after years of study that he had been imitating, not Titian, whom he desired to make his model, but a forger. After this he resolvedto make nature his model, and thus became a greatmaster of his art. According to his model, so will a man be. One reason why human characteris so depraved is because the perfect model is little known and less appreciated. IV. THE ONLY PERFECTMODELIS JESUS CHRIST. Who is the most imitable character? 1. He who has the strongestpowerto command admiration. 2. He who is most transparent in character. 3. He who is most unchangeable in the spirit which animates him.Conclusion: Follow Me. 1. This is an epitome of the moral laws of God. 2. Herein is man's life and perfection. 3. Imitate Christ by inbreathing His moral spirit. (D. Thomas, D. D.)
  26. 26. The callof St. Philip P. B. Power, M. A. No trumpet summoned the soldiers of the Cross to the battle-field; no hand like that at Belshazzar's feastcame forth to beckonhim; no miracle made them take up a distinctive post. And, yet, what a callthis was!how noble, singular, useful, profitable I Such a call came to Judas, and he soldit. I. THE ORIGIN OF THIS CALL WAS THE WILL OF CHRIST. Jesus "goes forth" in searchofevery sinner. But the mere "going forth" of Christ is not enough. There must be an exercise ofHis secretpower. This poweris pervasive, leavening, and so works upon man's free-will that it comes into union with the heavenly will. Without this there can be no discipleship. II. THE POSITION IN WHICH THIS CALL PLACES THE PERSON BY WHOM IT IS RECOGNIZEDAND OBEYED. It makes him follower, and when man becomes a follower — 1. He abridges his right over himself, his property, time, etc. 2. He sets aside his ownwisdom, and accepts thatof His Master. 3. He follows always, evenunto the end. III. IN THIS CALL THERE IS — 1. Exclusiveness,jealous refusalto admit of any division of the heart. 2. Mystery. (1)It separates us from the nothingness and delusions of the world. (2)It joins us to the invisible and heavenly. (3)It opens up new hopes, scenes, andsources ofimmeasurable wealth. (P. B. Power, M. A.) Delaying Christian profession
  27. 27. Homiletic Monthly. — The command is for instant obedience. A common objection is, "I have no confidence in my future strength. I must wait until I am strongerbefore I profess to have devoted my whole life to Christ." Reply — I. YOU ARE LIVING ONLY IN THE PRESENT. The future is not. For you there may be no earthly future, for you may die to-night. Your responsibility is for the now. II. DUTIES WILL COME NOT IN THE MASS, BUT ONE BY ONE. Strength for eachis all you will need. III. YOU WILL GROW STRONG FOR COMINGDUTIES ONLY AS YOU PERFORMPRESENTONES.No one can step to the top of the pyramids; but he can climb one block;and from that he can reachanother. Says Robert Browning: "I see a duty and do it not, and therefore see no higher." IV. GOD'S GRACE IS PROMISED ONLYFOR TIME OF NEED. No man to-day canbe prepared for tomorrow's duties. V. GOD'S STRENGTHIS OUR ONLY STRENGTH, AND THAT IS PLEDGED. "Iwill be with you even to the end of the world." He "will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that you are able, but with the temptation will provide a wayof escape." (Homiletic Monthly.) The motive for following Christ It is related in the annals Of the Ottoman Empire that when Amurath II. died, which was very suddenly, his son and destined successor, Mohammed, was about a day's journey distant in Asia Minor. Every day of interregnum in that fierce and turbulent monarchy is attended with peril. The death of the deceasedSultan was therefore concealed, and a secretmessage despatchedto the prince to hasten at once to the capital. On receiving the messagehe leaped on a powerful Arab charger, and turning to his attendants,
  28. 28. said, "Let him who loves me, follow!" This prince afterwards became one of the most powerful sovereigns ofthe Ottoman line. Those who approved their courage and loyalty by following him in this critical moment of his fortunes, were magnificently rewarded. There is another Prince — the Prince of peace — who says to those around Him, "Let him who loves Me, follow." The method of following Christ H. G. Trumbull, D. D. Faith includes works;loyalty involves service;love carries devotedness. It is not merely that, if we have trust in another, we ought to conform our conduct to the directions or suggestions orwishes or example of the trusted one; but it is that, if our trust is a reality, it will show itself in our conduct. It is folly for a child to tell of his love for his mother if he has no regardto her wishes;it is folly for a patient to say that he believes in his physician if he pays no attention to that physician's prescription; it is folly for a soldier to say that he is devoted to a commander whom he will not obey in the heat of a campaign; it is folly for a man to sayhe has faith in Jesus if he does not seek to follow Jesus. Jesussays, "Ifye love Me, keepMy commandments." (H. G. Trumbull, D. D.) COMMENTARIES Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (43) The day following, that is, the fourth day from the inquiry by the Sanhedrin (see John 1:29; John 1:35; John 1:43). Findeth Philip.—Just as he was going forth from his lodging of the previous night (John 1:39). Philip is mentioned in the other Gospels onlyin the lists of the Twelve. The touches of characterare all found in St. John. (Comp. John 6:5; John 12:21;John 14:8.)
  29. 29. Follow me.—This command, so full of meaning, is never used in the Gospels exceptas spokenby our Lord Himself, and is addressedto but one outside the circle of the Apostles, the rich young man whom Jesus loved(Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21). In other parts of the New Testamentit is used but once, in the words of the angelto Peter(Acts 12:8). We cannot, therefore, limit the words to an invitation to accompanyHim on that day’s walk, though this is included, and in that walk from Bethania to Bethsaida there came the revelationwhich made the “Follow Me” a powerbinding for the whole of life. (Comp. Matthew 8:22.) MacLaren's Expositions John THE FIRST DISCIPLES:III. PHILIP John 1:43. ‘The day following’-we have a diary in this chapterand the next, extending from the day when John the Baptist gives his officialtestimony to Jesus, up till our Lord’s first journey to Jerusalem. The order of events is this. The deputation from the Sanhedrim to John occupiedthe first day. On the second Jesus comes back to John after His temptation, and receives his solemn attestation. On the third day, John repeats his testimony, and three disciples, probably four, make the nucleus of the Church. These are the two pairs of brothers, James and John, Andrew and Peter, who stand first in every catalogue ofthe Apostles, and were evidently nearestto Christ. ‘The day following’of our text is the fourth day. On it our Lord determines to return to Galilee. His objects in His visit to John were accomplished-to receive
  30. 30. his public attestation, and to gather the first little knot of His followers. Thus launched upon His course, He desired to return to His native district. These events had occurredwhere John was baptising, in a place calledin the English version Bethabara, whichmeans ‘The house of crossing,’oras we might say, Ferry-house. The traditional site for John’s baptism is near Jericho, but the next chapter{John 2:1} shows that it was only a day’s journey from Cana of Galilee, and must therefore have been much further north than Jericho. A ford, still bearing the name Abarah, a few miles south of the lake of Gennesaret, has latelybeen discovered. Our Lord, then, and His disciples had a day’s walking to take them back to Galilee. But apparently before they set out on that morning, Philip and Nathanaelwere added to the little band. So these two days saw six disciples gathered round Jesus. Andrew and John soughtChrist and found Him. To them He revealed Himself as very willing to be approached, and glad to welcome any to His side. Peter, who comes next, was brought to Christ by his brother, and to him Christ revealedHimself as reading his heart, and promising and giving him higher functions and a more noble character. Now we come to the third case, ‘Jesus findeth Philip,’ who was not seeking Jesus, and who was brought by no one. To him Christ reveals Himself as drawing near to many a heart that has not thought of Him, and laying a masterful hand of gracious authority on the springs of life and characterin that autocratic word ‘Follow Me.’So we have a gradually heightening revelation of the Master’s graciousnessto all souls, to them that seek and to them that seek Him not. It is only to the working out of these simple thoughts that I ask your attention now.
  31. 31. I. First, then, let us dealwith the revelation that is given us here of the seeking Christ. Every one who reads this chapter with even the slightestattention must observe how ‘seeking’and ‘finding’ are repeatedover and over again. Christ turns to Andrew and John with the question, ‘What seek ye?’Andrew, as the narrative says, ‘findeth his own brother, Simon, and saith unto him, “We have found the Messias!”‘Then again, Jesus finds Philip; and again, Philip, as soon as he has been won to Jesus, goes offto find Nathanael;and his glad word to him is, once more, ‘We have found the Messias.’It is a reciprocalplay of finding and seeking allthrough these verses. There are two kinds of finding. There is a casualstumbling upon a thing that you were not looking for, and there is a finding as the result of seeking.It is the latter which is here. Christ did not casuallystumble upon Philip, upon that morning, before they departed from the fords of the Jordan on their short journey to Cana of Galilee. He went to look for this other Galilean, one who was connectedwith Andrew and Peter, a native of the same little village. He went and found him; and whilst Philip was all unexpectant and undesirous, the Mastercame to him and laid His hand upon him, and drew him to Himself. Now that is what Christ often does. There are men like the merchantman who went all over the world seeking goodlypearls, who with some eagerlonging to possesslight, or truth, or goodness, orrest, searchup and down and find it nowhere, because they are looking for it in a hundred different places. They are expecting to find a little here and a little there, and to piece all togetherto make of the fragments one all-sufficing restfulness. Then when they are most eagerin their search, or when, perhaps, it has all died down into despairand apathy, the veil seems to be withdrawn, and they see Him whom they have been seeking allthe time and knew not that He was there beside them. All,
  32. 32. and more than all, that they soughtfor in the many pearls is stored for them in the one Pearl of greatprice. The ancientcovenant stands firm to-day as for ever. ‘Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.’ But then there are others, like Paul on the road to Damascus orlike Matthew the publican, sitting at the receiptof custom, on whom there is laid a sudden hand, to whom there comes a sudden conviction, on whose eyes, notlooking to the East, there dawns the light of Christ’s presence. Suchcasesoccurall through the ages,for He is not to be confined, bless His name! within the narrow limits of answering seeking souls, orof showing Himself to people that are brought to Him by human instrumentality; but far beyond these bounds He goes, and many a time discloses His beauty and His sweetness to hearts that wist not of Him, and who canonly say, ‘Lo! Godwas in this place, and I knew it not.’ ‘Thou wastfound of them that soughtThee not.’ As it was in His miracles upon earth, so it has been in the sweetand gracious works of His grace eversince. Sometimes He healed in response to the yearning desire that lookedout of sick eyes, orthat spoke from parched lips, and no man that ever came to Him and said ‘Heal me!’ was sent away beggaredof His blessing. Sometimes He healed in response to the beseeching of those who, with loving hearts, carried their dear ones and laid them at His feet. But sometimes, to magnify the spontaneity and the completenessof His own love, and to show us that He is bound and limited by no human co- operation, and that He is His own motive, He reachedout the blessing to a hand that was not extended to graspit; and by His question, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’kindled desires that else had lain dormant for ever. And so in this story before us; He will welcome andover-answerAndrew and John when they come seeking;He will turn round to them with a smile on His face, that converts the question, ‘What seek ye?’into an invitation, ‘Come and see.’And when Andrew brings his brother to Him, He will go more than
  33. 33. halfway to meet him. But when these are won, there still remains another way by which He will have disciples brought into His Kingdom, and that is by Himself going out and laying His hand on the man and drawing him to His heart by the revelation of His love. But further, and in a deeper sense, He really seeks us all, and, unasked, bestows His love upon us. Whether we seek Him or no, there is no heart upon earth which Christ does not desire;and no man or womanwithin the sound of His gospelwhom He is not in a very real sense seeking thatHe may draw them to Himself. His own word is a wonderful one: ‘The Fatherseekethsuchto worship Him’; as if God went all up and down the world looking for hearts to love Him and to turn to Him with reverent thankfulness. And as the Father, so the Son-who is for us the revelationof the Father: ‘The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ No one on earth wantedHim, or dreamed of His coming. When He bowedthe heavens and gatheredHimself into the narrow space of the mangerin Bethlehem, and took upon Him the limitations and the burdens and the weaknesses ofmanhood, it was not in response to any petition, it was in reply to no seeking;but He came spontaneously, unmoved, obeying but the impulse of His own heart, and because He would have mercy. He who is the Beginning, and will be First in all things, was first in this, that before they calledHe answered, and came upon earth unbesought and unexpected, because His owninfinite love brought Him hither. Christ’s mercy to a world does not come like water in a well that has to be pumped up, by our petitions, by our search, but like waterin some fountain, rising sparkling into the sunlight by its own inward impulse. He is His own motive; and came to a forgetful and carelessworld, like a shepherd who goes afterhis flock in the wilderness, not because they bleat for him, while they crop the herbage which tempts them ever further from the fold and remember him and it no more, but because he cannot have them lost. Men are not conscious ofneeding Christ till He comes. The supply creates the demand. He is like the ‘dew which tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.’
  34. 34. But not only does Christ seek us all, inasmuch as the whole conceptionand executionof His greatwork are independent of man’s desires, but He seeksus eachin a thousand ways. He longs to have eachof us for His disciples. He seeks eachofus for His disciples, by the motion of His Spirit on our spirits, by stirring convictionin our consciences,by pricking us often with a sense ofour own evil, by all our restlessnessanddissatisfaction, by the disappointments and the losses, as by the brightnesses and the goodness ofearthly providences, and often through such agenciesas my lips and the lips of other men. The MasterHimself, who seeks allmankind, has sought and is seeking youat this moment. Oh! yield to His search. The shepherd goes outon the mountain side, for all the storm and the snow, and wades knee-deepthrough the drifts until he finds the sheep. And your Shepherd, who is also your Brother, has come looking for you, and at this moment is putting out His hand and laying hold of some of you through my poor words, and saying to you, as He said to Philip, ‘Follow Me!’ II. And now let us next considerthat word of authority which, spokento the one man in our text, is really spokento us all. ‘Jesus findeth Philip, and saith unto him, “Follow Me!”‘No doubt a greatdeal more passed, but no doubt what more passedwas less significantand less important for the development of faith in this man than what is recorded. The word of authority, the invitation which was a demand, the demand which was an invitation, and the personalimpression which He produced upon Philip’s heart, were the things that bound him to Jesus Christ for ever. ‘Follow Me,’ spokenat the beginning of the journey of Christ and His disciples back to Galilee, might have meant merely, on the surface, ‘Come back with us.’ But the words have, of course, a much deeper meaning. They mean-be My disciple. Think what is implied in them, and ask yourself whether the demand that Christ makes in these words is an unreasonable one, and then ask yourselves whether you have yielded to it or not.
  35. 35. We lose the force of the image by much repetition. Sheepfollow a shepherd. Travellers follow a guide. Here is a man upon some dangerous cornice of the Alps, with a ledge of limestone as broad as the palm of your hand, and perhaps a couple of feetof snow above that, for him to walk upon, a precipice on either side; and his guide says, as he ropes himself to him, ‘Now, tread where I tread!’ Travellers follow their guides. Soldiers follow their commanders. There is the hell of the battlefield; here a line of wavering, timid, raw recruits. Their commander rushes to the front and throws himself upon the advancing enemy with the one word, ‘Follow’and the coward becomes a hero. Soldiers follow their captains. Your Shepherd comes to you and calls, ‘Follow Me.’Your Captain and Commander comes to you and calls, ‘Follow Me.’In all the dreary wilderness, in all the difficult contingencies and conjunctions, in all the conflicts of life, this Man strides in front of us and proposes Himself to us as Guide, Example, Consoler, Friend, Companion, everything; and gathers up all duty, all blessedness,in the majestic and simple words, ‘Follow Me.’ It is a call at the leastto acceptHim as a Teacher, but the whole gist of the context here is to show us that from the beginning Christ’s disciples did not look upon Him as a Rabbi’s disciples did, as being simply a teacher, but recognisedHim as the Messias,the Sonof God, the King of Israel. So that they were calledupon by this command to acceptHis teaching in a very specialway, not merely as Hillel or Gamalielaskedtheir disciples to accept theirs. Do you do that? Do you take Him as your illumination about all matters of theoreticaltruth, and of practicalwisdom? Is His declarationof God your theology? Is His declarationof His own Personyour creed? Do you think about His Cross as He did when He electedto be remembered in all the world by the broken body and the shed blood, which were the symbols of His reconciling death? Is His teaching, that the Son of Man comes to ‘give His life a ransom for many,’ the ground of your hope? Do you follow Him in your belief, and following Him in your belief, do you acceptHim as, by His death and passion, the Saviour of your soul? That is the first step-to follow Him, to trust Him wholly for what He is, the Incarnate Sonof God, the Sacrifice for
  36. 36. the sins of the whole world, and therefore for your sins and mine. This is a call to faith. It is also a call to obedience. ‘Follow Me’certainly means ‘Do as I bid you,’ but softens all the harshness of that command. Sedulously plant your tremulous feetin His firm footsteps. Where you see His track going across the bog be not afraid to walk after Him, though it may seemto lead you into the deepestand the blackestofit. ‘Follow Him’ and you will be right. ‘Follow Him’ and you will be blessed. Do as Christ did, or as according to the bestof your judgment it seems to you that Christ would have done if He had been in your circumstances;and you will not go far wrong. ‘The Imitation of Christ,’ which Thomas a Kempis wrote his book about, is the sum of all practical Christianity. ‘Follow Me!’ makes discipleshipto be something more than intellectual acceptanceofHis teaching, something more than even reliance for my salvationupon His work. It makes discipleship-springing out of these two- the acceptance ofHis teaching and the consequentreliance, by faith, upon His word-to be a practicalreproduction of His characterand conduct in mine. It is a call to communion. If a man follows Christ he will walk close behind Him, and near enough to Him to hear Him speak, and to be ‘guided by His eye.’He will be separatedfrom other people, and from other paths. In these four things, then-Faith, Obedience, Imitation, Communion-lies the essenceof discipleship. No man is a Christian who has not in some measure all four. Have you gotthem? What right has Jesus Christ to ask me to follow Him? Why should I? Who is He that He should set Himself up as being the perfect Example and the Guide for all the world? What has He done to bind me to Him, that I should take Him for my Master, and yield myself to Him in a subjection that I refuse to the mightiest names in literature, and thought, and practicalbenevolence? Who is this that assumes thus to dominate over us all? Ah! brethren, there is
  37. 37. only one answer. ‘This is none other than the Son of God who has given Himself a ransom for me, and therefore has the right, and only therefore has the right, to sayto me, “Follow Me.”‘ III. And now one lastword. Think for a moment about this silently and swiftly obedient disciple. Philip says nothing. Of course the narrative is mere sketchyoutline. He is silent, but he yields. Ah, brethren, how quickly a soul may be won or lost! That moment, when Philip’s decisionwas trembling in the balance, was but a moment. It might have gone the other way, for Christ has no pressedmen in His army; they are all volunteers. It might have gone the other way. A moment may settle for you whether you will be His disciple or not. People tell us that the belief in instantaneous conversions is unphilosophical. It seems to me that the objections to them are unphilosophical. All decisions are matters of an instant. Hesitation may be long, weighing and balancing may be a protracted process, but the decisionis always a moment’s work, a knife-edge. And there is no reasonwhateverwhy any one listening to me may not now, if he or she will, do as this man Philip did on the spot, and when Christ says ‘Follow Me,’turn to Him and answer, ‘I will follow Thee whithersoeverThou goest.’ There is an old church tradition which says that the disciple who at a subsequent period answeredChrist, ‘Lord! suffer me first to go and bury my father,’ was this same Apostle. I do not think that at all likely, but the tradition suggests to us one last thought about the reasons why people are kept back from yielding this obedience to Christ’s invitation. Many of you are kept back, as that procrastinating followerwas, because there are some other duties which you feel, or make to be, more important. ‘I will think about Christianity and turning religious when this, that, or the other thing has been
  38. 38. got over. I have my position in life to make. I have a greatmany things to do that must be done at once, and really, I have not time to think about it.’ Then there are some of you that are kept from following Christ because you have never yet found out that you need a guide at all. Then there are some of you that are kept back because you like very much better to go your own way, and to follow your own inclination, and dislike the idea of following the will of another. There are a hostof other reasons that I do not need to deal with now; but oh! brethren, none of them is worth pleading. They are excuses,they are not reasons.‘Theyall with one consentbeganto make excuse’-excuses,not reasons;and manufactured excuses,in order to covera decisionwhich has been takenbefore, and on other grounds altogether, which it is not convenient to bring up to the surface. I am not going to deal with these in detail, but I beseechyou, do not let what I venture to callChrist’s seeking ofyou once more, even by my poor words now, be in vain. Follow Him. Trust, obey, imitate, hold fellowship with Him. You will always have a Companion, you will always have a Protector. ‘He that followeth Me,’ saith He, ‘shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ And if you will listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him, that sweetold promise will be true, in its divinest and sweetestsense, aboutyour life, in time; and about your life in the moment of death, the isthmus betweentwo worlds, and about your life in eternity-’They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the sun nor heat smite them; for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of watershall He guide them.’ ‘Follow thou Me.’ BensonCommentary John 1:43-44. The day following — The next to that lastmentioned, on which he met with Peter;Jesus would go forth into Galilee — And there enter on his public ministry; and findeth Philip — Whom he intended to chooseto be one of his apostles;and saith to him, Follow me — Which he accordinglydid, being secretlyinfluenced by Christ’s grace. Whenwe considerhow suddenly
  39. 39. some of Christ’s disciples left their statedemployments to follow him, it seems reasonable to allow some singular kind of impressionon their minds, as there was in the calling of Elisha, (1 Kings 19:19-21,)which, though for the present it supersededthe necessityof arguments, yet it did not exclude their attending to that afterward, which might be necessaryto defend their conduct to others. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew — “As it appears from the subsequent part of the history, Philip was already acquainted with our Lord’s character, and believed on him, this observation is made by the evangelist, to show by what means he was brought to Jesus;his townsmen, Andrew and Peter, had done him this favour.” Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary 1:43-51 See the nature of true Christianity, it is following Jesus;devoting ourselves to him, and treading in his steps. Observe the objectionNathanael made. All who desire to profit by the word of God, must beware of prejudices againstplaces, ordenominations of men. They should examine for themselves, and they will sometimes find goodwhere they lookedfor none. Many people are kept from the ways of religion by the unreasonable prejudices they conceive. The bestway to remove false notions of religion, is to make trial of it. In Nathanaelthere was no guile. His professionwas not hypocritical. He was not a dissembler, nor dishonest;he was a sound character, a really upright, godly man. Christ knows what men are indeed. Does He know us? Let us desire to know him. Let us seek and pray to be Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile; truly Christians, approved of Christ himself. Some things weak, imperfect, and sinful, are found in all, but hypocrisy belongs not to a believer's character. Jesus witnessed whatpassedwhen Nathanaelwas under the fig-tree. Probably he was then in fervent prayer, seeking directionas to the Hope and ConsolationofIsrael, where no human eye observedhim. This showedhim that our Lord knew the secrets ofhis heart. Through Christ we commune with, and benefit by the holy angels;and things in heavenand things on earth are reconciledand united together. Barnes'Notes on the Bible Would go forth - Was about to go.
  40. 40. Into Galilee - He was now in Judea, where he went to be baptized by John. He was now about to return to his native country. Findeth Philip - This does not refer to his calling these disciples to be "apostles," forthat took place at the Sea of Tiberias Matthew 4:18, but it refers to their being. convincedthat he was the Christ. This is the object of this evangelist, to show how and when they were convinced of this. Matthew states the time and occasionin which they were called to be "apostles;" John, the time in which they first became acquainted with Jesus, andwere convinced that he was the Messiah. There is, therefore, no contradiction in the evangelists. Jamieson-Fausset-BrownBible Commentary 43. would go … into Galilee—forfrom His baptism He had sojourned in Judea (showing that the calling at the Sea of Galilee [Mt 4:18] was a subsequent one, see on [1763]Lu5:1). Follow me—the first express callgiven, the former three having come to Him spontaneously. Matthew Poole's Commentary All this while Christ seemethto have been in Judea, which was the most famous province. The day after Peterhad thus been with him, he had a mind to go into Galilee;out of that he designedto choose his disciples;and that being the country where he had been educated, he designedin a more special manner to honour it with the first fruit of his public ministry. There findeth Philip (the name signifieth, a lover of horses). He callethhim to be his disciple. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible The day following,.... Notthe day after John had pointed out Christ, as the Lamb of God, to two of his disciples;but the day after Simon had been with him, being brought by Andrew: Jesus would go forth into Galilee;from whence he came to Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him; and which being done, and his temptations in the wilderness over, it was his will, resolution, and determination, to return to
  41. 41. Galilee, the place of his educationand conversation, till this time; and therefore chose to begin his ministry, and miracles, there, both to give honour to it, and to fulfil a prophecy in Isaiah9:1; and besides this, he had doubtless another end in going thither: which was to call some other disciples that dwelt there: and findeth Philip; as he was going to Galilee, or rather when in it; not by hap or chance;but knowing where he was, as the shepherd and bishop of souls, lookedhim up and found him out, and calledhim by his grace, and to be a disciple of his; See Gill on Matthew 10:3, and saith unto him, follow me; leave thy friends, thy calling, and business, and become a disciple of mine: and such powerwent along with these words, that he at once left all, and followedChrist; as the other disciples, Peter, and Andrew, James, and John, and Matthew did, as is recordedof them, though not of this; but the following history makes it appearhe did. Geneva Study Bible The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. EXEGETICAL(ORIGINAL LANGUAGES) Expositor's Greek Testament John 1:43. καὶ ἤγαγεναὐτὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. He was not contentto allow his report to work in his brother’s mind, but induced him there and then, though probably on the following day, as now it must have been late, to go to Jesus.— ἐμβλέψας … Πέτρος. Jesus may have knownSimon previously, or may have been told his name by Andrew. “Thouart Simon, Jonah’s son, or better, John’s son. Thou shalt be calledKephas.” This name, Kephas or Peter, stone or mass of rock, Simon did receive at CaesareaPhilippi on his confession of Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:17-18);a confessionprompted not by “flesh and blood,” that is, by his brother’s experience, but by his own inwrought and home-grownconviction. The reasonof this utterance to Simon is understood when it is consideredthat the name he as yet bore, Simon Barjona, was identified with a characterfull of impulsiveness; which might well lead him to
  42. 42. suppose he would only bring mischief to the Messiah’s kingdom. But, says Christ, thou shalt be calledRock. Those who enterChrist’s kingdom believing in Him receive a characterfitting them to be of service. Cambridge Bible for Schools andColleges 43. The day following]Better, as in John 1:29; John 1:35, The next day: the Greek is the same in all three verses. We thus have four days accurately marked, (1) John 1:19; (2) John 1:29; (3) John 1:35; (4) John 1:44. A writer of fiction would not have caredfor such minute details; they might entangle him in discrepancies. Theyare thoroughly natural as coming from an eyewitness. See on John 2:1. Follow me] In the Gospels these words seemalways to be the callto become a disciple. Matthew 8:22; Matthew 9:9; Matthew 19:21; Mark 2:14; Mark 10:21;Luke 5:27; Luke 9:59; John 21:19. With two exceptions they are always addressedto those who afterwards became Apostles. Bengel's Gnomen John 1:43. Ἠθέλησεν ἐξελθεῖν, would go forth) and He did go forth, which ch. John 2:1 implies. By comparing with this ch. 2, especiallythe 11th verse, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifestedforth His glory,” etc., it is evident that the word for going forth is significant. He went forth to action, to the carrying on of His work. Pulpit Commentary Verses 43, 44. - On the morrow - i.e. on the fourth day after the deputation from the Sanhedrin - he willed - or was minded - to go forth into Galilee, to commence his homeward journey. Whether this implies an actualbeginning of his route, or suggests, before any step was takenin that direction, that the following incidents occurred, cannotbe determined, though commentators take opposite sides, as though something important depended upon it. The former supposition is, however, in keeping with the considerable distance, on any hypothesis of the site of Bethany, betweenit and Cana. And he (the Lord
  43. 43. himself "finds;" the two earliestdisciples had soughtand found him) findeth Philip; very probably on the route from the scene ofJohn's baptism to the Bethsaida on the westernshore of the Lake of Galilee. And Jesus saithto him, Follow me; become one of my ἀκόλουθοι. The arguments, the reasons, which weighedwith him are not given at first, but we find that he soonlearned the same greatlessonas that which the other disciples had acquired, and he clothes them in memorable words. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. This is a remark of the evangelist, who did not consider it necessaryto sayfrom what city or neighbourhood he had himself issued. This town has utterly perished (Matthew 11:20), although some travellers (Robinson, 3:359; Wilson and Warren) believe that indications were found north of Khan Minyeh, and others have identified it with Tell-Hum. Some writers ('Picturesque Palestine,'vol. 2:74, 81, etc.)discoverit in Ain et Tabighah, where some remains of a fountain reservoirand other buildings are found. It was identified by Thomsonwith Abu-Zany, on the westof the entrance of Jordan into the lake. The two pairs of brothers must have been familiar with Philip. Some interesting hints of characterare attainable from John 6:5, in which an incident occurs where Philip revealeda practical wisdom and confident purpose, and againin John 12:21, 22, where Andrew and Philip are made the confidants of the Greeks, andPhilip is the one who seems able and willing to introduce them to Jesus. In John 14:8 Philip uttered one of the great longings of the human heart - a passionate desire to solve all mysteries, by the vision of the Father; but he lets out the fact that be had not seenall that he might have seenand knownin Jesus himself. Subsequent history shows that Philip was one of the "greatlights of Asia," and was held in the highestesteem(Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.,'3:31). He must not be confounded with Philip the evangelist, whose daughters prophesied(Acts 8; Acts 21:8). Vincent's Word Studies Jesus The best texts omit. Would go forth (ἠθέλησεν ἐξελθεῖν)
  44. 44. Rev., better, was minded to go. On the constructionsee on Matthew 20:14. On the verb to be minded, see on Matthew 1:19. And findeth Note the graphic interchange of tenses:was minded, findeth. The coordination of the two clauses,whichby other writers would be placed in logical dependence, is characteristic ofJohn. Even where there is a real inner dependence he uses only the simple connective particles. Compare John 2:13 sqq. Philip See on Mark 3:18. For hints of his charactersee John6:5, John 6:7; John 12:21 sqq.; John 14:8, John 14:9. Saith The best texts insert Jesus:"And Jesus saidunto him." Follow (ἀκολούθει) Often used in the New Testamentwith the specialsense offollowing as a disciple or partisan. See Matthew 4:20, Matthew 4:22; Matthew 9:9; Mark 1:18; John 8:12. Also with the meaning of cleaving steadfastlyto one and conforming to his example. See Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24;John 12:26. The verb occurs but once outside of the writings of the Evangelists, 1 Corinthians 10:4. It appears in the noun acolyte, oracolyth, or acolothist, a church-servant ranking next below a subdeacon, whose duty it was to trim the lamps, light the church, prepare the sacramentalelements, etc. Under the Byzantine emperors the captain of the emperor's bodyguard was called Acolouthos, or the Follower. See Scott's "CountRobertof Paris." Question: "What are the biblical principles for solid decision-making?"
  45. 45. Answer: Solid decision-making begins by discerning the will of God. God delights in revealing His will to those who are eagerto follow His precepts (Psalm 33:18; Psalm 35:27; Psalm 147:11). Our attitude towards decision-making should be that of Jesus Himself who affirmed, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42; Matthew 6:10). God reveals His will to us primarily in two ways. First, through His Spirit: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13; see also 1 John 2:20, 27). And, second, God reveals His will through His Word: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105; see also Psalm 19:7-9; 2 Peter 1:19). The process of decision-making includes making a judgment about an attitude or action. Decisions are an act of the will, and they are always influenced by the mind, the emotions, or both. The decisions we make actually reflect the desires of our heart (Psalm 119:30). Therefore, a key question before making a decision is “do I choose to please myself, or do I choose to please the Lord?” Joshua set the standard: “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15; cf. Romans 12:2). God sees the whole picture—the past, present, and future of our lives. He teaches and counsels us as He reveals Himself to us through His Word and Spirit. God has made this promise to us: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8; cf. Psalm 25:12). There will be times when God’s will may seemundesirable or unpleasant, when our heart follows our own desires instead of trusting God. But we will eventually learn that God’s will is always for our benefit (Psalm 119:67; Hebrews 12:10-11). Again, the chief key to solid decision-making is knowing God’s will and not following the desires of our own hearts: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12; cf. Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 21:2). As we put our trust in God, rather than ourselves, we soon discover what decisions are pleasing to Him.
  46. 46. First, God blesses those decisions that He initiates and that line up with His Word: “I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness” (Proverbs 4:11; see also Psalm 119:33). Second, God blesses decisions that accomplish His purpose and depend on His strength: “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13; see also Philippians 4:13). Additionally, God blesses those decisions that result in His glory: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). He blesses decisions that reflect His character, that promote justice, kindness and humility: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8; see also 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Timothy 4:12). And He blesses those decisions that come from faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). We must not forget God’s promise to give His children wisdom when they ask: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17). And when we pray for wisdom, we must trust God to answer our prayer: “When he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossedby the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7). Patience is important, too, as we wait for God’s timing: “After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Hebrews 6:15). Decision-making is more difficult when it involves a painful choice. Sometimes, the right course of action will also hurt us in some way. This is where we need grace the most. Are we really willing to suffer for the glory of Christ? “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceasedfrom sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2). Making a decision today? Look to God’s Word for direction. Take comfort in the peace which only He can provide (Philippians 4:7). Ask for wisdom, trust His promises, and He will guide your path: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own
  47. 47. understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6; see also Isaiah 58:11; John 8:12). Recommended Resource: Decision Making and the Will of God by Friesen & Maxson https://www.gotquestions.org/decision-making-Bible.html Question: "What does the Bible say about indecision / being indecisive?" Answer: To be indecisive usually means to have a difficult time making up one’s mind. Indecision can also apply to team collaboration in which no solution is reached. An indecisive issue is one that is not clearly marked out. We are indecisive when we are irresolute or lack strong conviction about a matter. Indecisiveness is common when we have to make a decision that will result in unpleasant consequences. There are times when remaining indecisive is wise. We may lack all the information, for example, or the issue is of little importance and an opinion would only be divisive. However, for the most part, indecision shows a lack of willingness to commit to absolute principles and to speak up for those principles. In that sense, indecision is a weakness (John 12:43). Several places in Scripture show the folly of indecision. Lot’s wife perished because of her inability to decide between Sodom and obedience to God (Genesis 19:26). Joshua reminded the people of Israel of the necessity of choosing sides concerning their worship, and he clearly stated his decision: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors servedbeyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). On Mount Carmel, as the prophet Elijah confronted Ahab and the prophets of Baal, he addressed the fence-sitting, indecisive Israelites: “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’ But the people said nothing” (1 Kings 18:21). Under conviction by the Holy Spirit, Felix refused to make a decision and sent Paul away until a time more “convenient” (Acts 24:25). Jesus warned us that “no one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).
  48. 48. Romans 14:15 addresses indecisiveness about personal convictions: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” God has given us His Word to instruct us in vital matters (Psalm 32:8; 119:105), but He leaves room for personal opinion and conviction in lessermatters as we strive to be pleasing to Him in all things. What the Bible does not condone is wishy-washiness. When we pray for wisdom, we are to believe that God hears and will answer (1 John 5:15; James 1:5). When we ask in harmony with God’s will, we must “ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossedby the wind” (James 1:6). In other words, faithless prayer is spiritual indecisiveness. We must seek wisdom in order to know what issues are worth being decisive about (Proverbs 2:2–6). Social media blazes with scorching opinions on every subject, but many of those fueling the fires would benefit from being more indecisive. Our culture has substituted opinion for truth and passion for conviction. We need not have a hard and fast opinion on every subject, nor feel pressured to “take a side” when we lack all the information or education on an issue. Taking time to hear all sides of a matter is a mark of wisdom (Proverbs 18:13, 17). But when it comes to the basic tenets of the gospel or the infallibility of God’s Word, we must not be indecisive (2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17). More information is available to us than everbefore in history, so there is no excuse for a Christian to be ignorant about God’s standards on the moral, civic, and relational topics of our day. Much spiritual indecisiveness is motivated by the fear of man, not a lack of knowledge (Galatians 1:10). When we adopt the mindset that our opinion can challenge the time-tested declarations of God, we are creating an atmosphere of indecision where it need not exist. Simply because a biblical standard makes us uncomfortable or conflicts with political correctness does not mean we should be indecisive about it. When nationally known preachers are questioned about specific topics the Bible clearly addresses, it is an insult to that same Bible to communicate indecisiveness. That is not diplomacy; that is merely cowardice. It is interesting that Revelation 21:8 lists cowards first among those who will be cast into the lake of fire. Clearly, God takes this seriously.
  49. 49. The minds of healthy Christians are settledon the things that matter and humbly teachable on the things that don’t. They continue to study to show themselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15) so that they form godly convictions about eventhe “gray areas” of life. They are careful not to judge others who serve God differently (Romans 14:1–4), but they are decisive about God’s plan for their own lives. When we live in ways that are true to those convictions, we will not be shaken by every new idea or cultural whim (Matthew 7:24–27). Indecisiveness about what God has declared to be true has no place in the life of a Christian. Recommended Resource: Decision Making and the Will of God by Friesen & Maxson https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-indecision.html Jesus’Modelfor Making Decisions Cindy Spear Leaders, Stewardship 8 Comments Elmer Towns and John Maxwell Our personalsuccessin our Christian lives will be governedby our willingness to seek Godfirst. The consequenceswe meettoday are a result of the decisions we made yesterday. And the decisions we make today will determine our happiness tomorrow. Notice how Jesus made life-changing decisions. Jesus chose.The key word in making decisions is to “choose.” We are not what we are today by accident. We are the sum total of all the decisions we have made in our lives, plus those times we did not make decisions. We arrive where we are in life by decisions and non-decisions, and we are responsible for both. Therefore, it makes sense to be like Jesus and control our lives and destinies as much as possible by choosing to choose.
  50. 50. Jesus withdrew. When we make spiritual decisions, we have to withdraw from the world’s system so we will not make worldly decisions. Jesus withdrew from the world so He could spend time in prayer. He went alone to think His way through decisions. He went into the wilderness for forty days before beginning His ministry. He prayed all night before choosing the twelve apostles. He spent time alone in prayer before every major decisionor circumstance in His life and ministry on earth. What Jesus did is no different than what we also must do if we are going to made the right priority decisions in life. Jesus prayed. If Jesus who was God felt it necessaryto spend time in prayer, how can we do otherwise? The urgency of His decisioncompelledHim to pray. How much more should earthly people spend time in prayer, for we do not have the perfection that Jesus had. As we make decisions, we should first of all ask Godfor the wisdom from able that only He can give (James 1:5). When confronted with a major decision, it is wise to accompanyour prayer for wisdomwith a period of fasting (Isaiah58:8-9). Jesus obeyed. Jesus made all decisions in keeping with the Word of God. Jesus said, “Mymeat is to do the will of Him that sentme” (John 4:34). By this He meant His food was to obey the Father. A gooddecisionhad to be in line with God’s will, which is found in God’s Word. As He made decisions in life, He did so with an underlying commitment to obey the directives of His Father. We should have an attitude that we will always obeythe directives and guidance of God in making a particular decision;that is settled aheadof time. We need to study the Scriptures and seek Godin prayer to discern His will, but we should not have to pray about doing what we already know God wants us to do. Jesus declared. Jesus knew anyand every decisionneeded to be declared. He was willing to tell others what He had decided. Sometimes this step will make us popular with others who like the consequences ofour decisions. Other times, we will encounter oppositionand criticism. Regardlessofthe anticipated consequences,we need to declare our decisions. When we make proper priority decisions in life, we candeclare those decisions knowing that
  51. 51. regardless ofthe immediate consequences, ultimately our decisions will prove to have been the best course ofaction. How Did Jesus Make Decisions? May 25, 2016 Decisions,decisions,decisions. ShouldI acceptthis job? Should I marry this person? Should I listen to that person’s advice? How do I know what to do? If I had a dollar for every time I getaskedthat question, I’d be a rich man. Young and old, rich and poor, married and single, spiritual and non-spiritual people – all struggle with the same question: how do I know the “right” thing to do in the situation I’m in? This question isn’t an easyone; there’s no simple answer. There’s no formula that I cangive you that says “Saythis prayer, read this passage andyou’ll know what to do.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. We aren’t talking about math class where everything breaks down into a nice and neat formula. We’re talking about life and life isn’t always black and white. So how then are we supposed to figure it out? Recentlysomething struck me about Jesus and His ministry and how He always knew what to do. I was reading Mark 1 and in it, I realizedsomething about Jesus that I had never fully graspedbefore. He seemedkinda inconsistent, didn’t He? I mean, at one point He is teaching the crowds and healing their sick and casting out demons from among them (see verses 21-34). He is gaining popularity and fame which would seem to be in line with His mission of spreading the gospelto as many people as possible (see verses 14-15).
  52. 52. But then, just a few verses later, He decides somewhatabruptly that He is leaving now and moving on to another city: “And Simon and those who were with Him searchedforHim. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” But He saidto them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (Mark 1:36-38). What happened here? Why leave so quickly? Were there no more people here in need of teaching? Or healing? Or casting out of demons? They were all looking for Him which seems like something that He’d like and that would be in line with His mission. So why leave all of a sudden? And then what’s even stranger is that after He leaves and goes to the next city, He runs into a man suffering from leprosy. The man approaches Jesus in the middle of the street and begs for healing. What will Jesus do? “Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” ThenJesus, moved with compassion, stretchedout His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”(Mark 1:40-41) HUH? What’s going on here? Why sayno to some people and then yes to others? Jesus was justin front of many sick people who were asking for healing and He said no. So why say yes now to this guy? This issue isn’t just in Mark 1 – you see it throughout the life of Christ. Yes He opened the eyes of the blind, but there were many more blind eyes that He never touched. Yes He healedmany sicknesses, but surely there were many that weren’t healed. Yes He raisedLazarus from the dead, but there were many more dead people that He didn’t raise weren’t there? So how did He know what the right thing to do was? The easyansweris to saythat He is God and He knows everything. Ok, that’s true, but there’s gotto be more to it. That answerdoesn’tgive me much hope that I canfigure out the right thing to do since I am not God.
  53. 53. WHAT DO I DO? HOW DO I KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT? HOW SHOULD I MAKE MY DECISIONS? Unfortunately, there’s no right answerto these questions. I have my answer and I'll be more than happy to share it with in two ways. First, you can read my answerby checking out THIS POST that I wrote a few years back. Secondly, you can tune in to my scope todayat 12:30 pm EST and hear my thoughts on the subject. I will never claim to be an expert on making goodchoices, but I've learned a thing or two in my experience as a priest and I'll be sharing those thoughts today. Either way, I hope you realize that ultimately your life is nothing more than the sum of all your decisions. Makegooddecisions andyou’ll probably find yourself in a goodplace. Make bad decisions and you’ll find the exact opposite. That's why the million dollar question is: HOW DO I MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS? I'll see you at 12:30 pm. In Spiritual Growth Tags decisions,intentional living, pleasing others, prayer, success 0 Likes Share ← Doubt as an Element of Faith WHEN YOU FORGIVE, YOU MUST FORGET - Things Jesus NeverSaid Part 3 → Comments (29) NewestFirstSubscribe via e-mail
  54. 54. Preview PostComment… Q 2 years ago · 0 Likes My normal personality is to intervene in problems of those I love until the problem is resolvedor until the people who the fight is among see my perseverance andsadness and halt the fight just for my sake (kinda cool, tbh! to have people who will stop fighting just for the sake ofmy comfort). However, I have done so in a recent situation with no resolution. I am emotionally drained, and have completely takenmyself out of the situation. I feel bad for doing so, and the parties involved are blaming me for doing so, but I simply cannot continue trying to resolve this problem by myself. How do I determine whether the point of this issue being presentin my life is to teach me to continue persevering or to learn when to stop trying to assuage situations around me? I've been praying for guidance as instructed by my FOC, but I am very emotionally drained by this whole spiel. I think it's a "gift" that the people around me try to resolve issues among them with my intervention- am I wasting my gift by taking myself out because ofhow I am feeling? I realize that you may not have an answer, I am mostly just thinking out loud Preview PostReply Fr. Anthony Messeh2 years ago · 0 Likes I wish I had an answerfor you Q, but I think it really depends on the circumstances and details of your specific situation. I don't know the answer,
  55. 55. but I know that God does. So stayclose to Him and trust that He will guide you when you do. Preview PostReply Martine 4 years ago · 0 Likes Hello, I am currently reading the life of Abraham by F.B. Meyer, God spoke to him to promise him that he will have as many children as the stars....andhe believed in the Lord and is righteous (Rom 4:3, Gal3:6, James 2:23)how do I apply this in my own life when I'm in a waiting period to figure out upcoming decisions? I don't find it that simple to believe and sometimes wanna take matters in my own hands. Secondquestion, I ask myself will I ever know if Gods answeris delayed or simply a no? When I see how long Abraham waited for his child, any one of us would've said that's it, not the will of God....what do you think? I know his story is particular to him but trying to learn what to take from it. Thanks for sharing your blog, it's a real blessing! Preview PostReply Fr. Anthony Messeh4 years ago · 0 Likes Greatquestion Martine. As I mentioned in the scope on this post, the key is cultivating one's relationship with God. It takes time and practice to hear God's voice and, as with any relationship, the more we hear His voice, the easierit will be to discernit. So be patient. Invest in your relationship with God and trust that He'll speak whenneeded. Hope that helps.
  56. 56. Preview PostReply Martine 4 years ago · 0 Likes Thanks Abouna, please remember me in your prayers :) Preview PostReply Marian 8 years ago · 0 Likes Hi Abouna, this is so timely for the crossroads my family is at, in more ways than one, so thanks for writing about this. I do have questions of a practical nature re quiet time with God: one, how/when does a mother of young children do this when she wakes up and has to hit the ground running with feeding, pottying, etc, and two, how to keepthat attention span long enoughto have a quiet time with God? I often feel tempted to not getup earlierthan the kids because I'm so exhaustedand just trying to gearup for all the work that awaits me as a stay-at-home mom...orI want to just relish the sound of nothing and the ability to do whatever I want (and I wish that natural inclination or yearning were time praying, etc, but most of the time it's not) when they nap...thx. Preview PostReply Fr. Anthony 8 years ago · 0 Likes