Come, Follow Me

Matthew 4:19
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people” (NIV11).
 
Come, Follow Me
 
I wonder what they were thinking, don’t you? Jesus sees two brothers, Peter and Andrew,
casting a net into the lake to catch fish. He tells them, “Come, follow me.” And they leave their
nets to follow him. Now, understand: he’s met them before. This isn’t a first-time cold call. But
when Jesus calls, they’re ready. . . and they go.
 
Then he comes across James and John, who are also fishermen. They’re in a boat with their
father preparing their nets. Jesus calls them, too. “Let’s fish for souls,” he says. And they drop
everything. They leave their boat. They leave their father. And they go and follow Jesus.
 
Who does that? Who leaves it all behind to follow Jesus, not knowing what the future holds in
store? Who leaves behind job, family, and home just to be with Jesus and learn from him? I
guess you could say: only somebody who really wants to. Only someone who sees Jesus for who
he is and knows the peace and blessing only he can bring.
 
What these men did makes sense only when we see that. Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God
and Savior of the world. Yet he took on the nature of a servant. “He humbled himself by
becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). He did it to cancel our
debt of sin and give us the joy of everlasting life.
 
How much of that did Peter and Andrew and James and John really understand? Not all of
it—at least not at this time. But what they did know about Jesus made them want to give
something in return. And so when they hear his call to come and follow him, they answer that
call with joy. They give him their lives.
 
Jesus is calling you. He’s calling you to follow him just as he called them. He’s calling you to be
his disciple—to learn from him, to walk in his ways, and to share the good news with all. He’s
calling you to get involved in his work—to go out and “fish for souls.” How will you respond?

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
 
Actions speak louder than words. That is familiar to most of. What it means is this: how you act
can show more about what you believe in than what you say. Also, if we act in a way that is
consistent with what we say, our integrity increases in the eyes of others. I would like to apply
this saying to the character Joseph in the Christmas story.
 
In fact, we practically have to apply this saying to Joseph because the Bible doesn’t record any
of Joseph’s words. It only records what he does. Our verses for study come from Matthew 2:13-
15, 19-23. The Magi had recently left the land of Israel after visiting Jesus. The wicked king
Herod wanted to have the baby Jesus killed because the Magi had proclaimed him a King.
Herod saw this as a threat to his position of power. In order to protect the messiah from Herod
God warns Joseph in a dream to take the child down to Egypt. And we read, “So he got up, took
the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.” That’s it. No words, no questions.
There are simply three verbs in that sentence: got up, took, and left. But these three simple
actions speak volumes about Joseph. He must have had an amazing faith. In order to protect
the family God had given him Joseph leaves his house, his business, perhaps his family too. He
left with Mary and Jesus for a land where the culture and the language were probably
unfamiliar. And he had no idea what he was going to do when he got down there. Nevertheless,
Joseph got up, took, and left.
 
How was Joseph able to do this? How was he able to simply get up in the middle of the night
and leave for a foreign country? First, he must have had to put his trust in the words God. God
had told him in a dream that Mary’s child was “from the holy spirit” and would “save his people
from their sins” (Matthew 1:20,21). If this child was going to be the savior. God would have to
preserve him to do his saving work. So Joseph left, trusting that God would provide. Second,
God had already provisioned them for their trip. The Magi had given gifts of gold frankincense
and Myrrh, gifts that were extremely valuable. These gifts may have even still been in the
traveling containers that the Magi brought them in. Joseph had funding for the trip, and seed
money for a starting a new life down in Egypt, ready to go. So, Joseph trusts God and leaves.
Showing his faith with his actions.
 
My prayers is that our actions also speak louder than our words. Let our actions serve as a
testimony for what we believe in. In order to do this we will have to recognize two things. First,
We will have to recognize the promises in God’s word. We can forgive knowing that God has
promised to forgive us. We can be generous knowing that God has promised to provide for us.
Secondly, recognize the blessings already given. Recognize that God has already provisioned
you with everything you need to live a life in thankfulness to him. A life of thankfulness and a
life using the blessings you have been given to help others are actions that speak volumes.

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Are You the One?

Matthew 11:2-11
 
Ted was getting nervous. He was given strict orders to pick up the client at the airport and get him to the meeting downtown by 3:00pm. No excuses.
 
He checked his watch for the umpteenth time. It was 2:35 pm. Even if he left right now, he wasn’t going to make it back to the office by 3:00 pm.
 
As the doors opened, passengers came off the plane. Ted held up his sign. He hoped this would work because he had no idea what the client looked like. All he had was a name: Mr. Thomas Smith. As Ted scanned the many faces rushing past him, one man stopped in front of him and put down his bag. Their eyes met. Nervously Ted asked, “Are you Mr. Thomas Smith?” “Yes, I am” the man answered. Ted breathed a sigh of relief. “I was sent to pick you up, sir. Right this way, I have a car waiting.”
 
I can empathize with Ted. It would be incredibly nerve-racking to wait for someone and have no idea who they are or what they look like. I’m sure John the Baptist would agree. He had been sent by God to prepare people for the coming Christ. He predicted dire consequences for those who were not. And then came Jesus. He was the One! But then, John began to doubt. Jesus wasn’t doing what he expected him to do. He wasn’t bringing great condemnation. He was healing the sick and preaching the gospel. So, John sent two of his own disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one?”
 
Have you ever wanted to ask Jesus that same question? All your life you have known Jesus to be the Savior of the world. But in a moment of pure honesty, there have been times when you’ve had your doubts. Maybe your life hasn’t gone exactly the way you wanted it to. Maybe your prayers have gone unanswered. As a result, you’ve harbored questions and maybe even a little bit of doubt. You want to ask Jesus, “Are you the one?”
 
Jesus answered John’s question by pointing him back to the pages of Scripture. He quoted from Isaiah 35:5,6. Jesus was doing exactly what the Scriptures said he would do. He gave sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. Jesus’ answer was YES. He is the One.
 
When you find yourself with questions or doubts as to whether Jesus knows who you are or what’s going on in your life, do what John the Baptist did. Go to Jesus and ask. And then, turn to the pages of Scripture to find his answers. Yes. He knows who you are and what you’re going through. He’s promised to hear your prayers. He’s promised to never leave you or forsake you. He’s promised you a home in heaven. Once you know that, doubts and fear begin to fade away. By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, there is no more doubt. Jesus is the One.

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You Know What’s Coming

Matthew 24:36
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the
Father.
 
You Know What’s Coming
I love a good movie with a surprise twist at the end, don’t you? The plot draws you in, you
begin to really care about the characters, you go through all kinds of emotional ups and downs,
and just when you think it’s all over. . . something happens that makes you say, “I did not see
that coming!”
 
That’s similar to what Jesus says the end of time will be like. It will take us all by surprise.
“About that day or hour no one knows. . .” he says. He explains that at the time of the flood,
people went about their lives as usual, “up to the day Noah entered the ark. . . until the flood
came and took them all away.” Jesus’ arrival on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead
will be a shocker—the kind of thing that makes you say, “I did not see that coming!”
 
People have made all kinds of predictions about the end of time and have tried to calculate just
when it will be. None of them has ever proven to be true. That’s no surprise, because that day
is known only to God. But there is one aspect of the end that we do know. We know that it’s
going to come. That is certain. And when it comes, we need to be ready.
 
This Advent season, get ready for Jesus. Come to worship and listen to his Word. Recognize
your sin and trust in the blood that washes it all away. You know what’s coming. Grow closer to
your Lord, so that when he comes you can say with confidence and joy, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
 
Pastor Thomas Fricke

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