- Sermon Notes
I Have Decided
ILLUS – One of the worst choices I ever made…
1.Our choices define us. Good or bad, right or wrong, our choices are a revelation of who we are and what we are made of.
2.This is especially true when it comes to Jesus. Who we say Jesus is defines our now and our eternal destiny. It’s the most important decision a person will ever make.
3.Tonight, as we continue our study in Matthew’s Gospel, we will learn from our Savior’s perspective what it means when a person says, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
1.In Matthew 10, Jesus selected twelve of His disciples to be His apostles.
2.We noted last week that before they could be His apostles, “those who are sent”, they first needed to be His disciples, “those who are taught.”
3.Being a disciple is more than just being a student for it involves a wholehearted commitment to applying the teachings of Jesus to one’s life.
4.Before Jesus sent out the twelve, He gave them instructions because, as His official representatives, they must say what He would have them say and do what He would have them do. His authority rested on them.
5.When we come to the verses that we are studying tonight, Jesus spelled out in greater detail what it means to be His disciple.
6.What we will discover is that the Gospel is serious business because the consequences are eternal.
7.Jesus wanted them and He also wants us to understand not only the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, but also the blessings that come with being His disciple.
I.Stand for the Truth (24-31)
- In verse 24, Jesus began this section rather ominously when He said, “A disciple is not above his teacher.”
- Meaning, if we look at how the world received Jesus, His teachings and His miracles, we will have insight into how the world will receive those who confess they are disciples of Christ.
- Jesus went on to say, “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher.”
- If they called Jesus “Beelzebul”, which means “lord of the flies” (i.e. “Satan” or the “chief false god”), His disciples should not be surprised if they are called the same names and treated the same way. (25)
- Once again, Jesus was confronting the religious order of the day because the scribes and Pharisees no longer stood for the truth nor were they concerned for the redemption of men’s souls. They were only concerned about their personal gain and power, meaning their ability to control others through religion.
- Instead of acknowledging their sin and repenting, the scribes and Pharisees rejected God’s revelation that Jesus is the Messiah, the One who is True and speaks the truth, and called Him the father of lies, Satan.
A. The truth is the truth will win
1.Verse 26 is a great source of encouragement for Jesus declared, “Do not fear them”. Why? Because the truth is the truth will win!
2.The enemy of our souls, Satan, is a liar and he uses lies as a weapon blind the minds of the unbelieving and shackle people with fear.
3.But Jesus said, “Do not fear them” because the truth will be revealed and the truth will win.
4.We know how the end will end!
APPL – When light confronts darkness there will be tribulation. When truth confronts lies there will be tribulation.
- So, stand firm on the truth and in the truth.
- Where there is truth there is freedom!
John 8:31-32, 36, So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ
APPL – Don’t be afraid to speak the truth about God’s love. The world needs to hear it so proclaim it with boldness knowing that God’s truth will win!
B.Fear God not men
1.Jesus doubles down on the point that we should not fear in verse 28. Men may kill the body, but they cannot destroy the soul.
2.Rather, fear the One who has the power over both body and soul, meaning, “fear God.”
3.Our bodies are temporary, tents we live in while we are here on earth. We came from dust and to dust we will return.
4.The soul is eternal, and God and God alone will judge the soul of each person. That’s why Jesus asked such thought-provoking questions in Matthew 16:26.
Matthew 16:26, For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
4.There are two parts to this verse. First, do not be afraid of men. John gives us some insight into why people are afraid to confess Jesus publicly.
John 12:42-43, Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
5.Secondly, we should fear the One who is able to destroy our bodies and souls in hell. In other words, the Gospel is serious business and how we respond to it has eternal consequences.
Warren Wiersbe, “The fear of God is the fear that cancels fear.”
6.When we have that eternal perspective, it changes everything. Notice how the apostles responded after they were flogged and told not to “speak in the name of Jesus” in Acts 5:41.
Acts 5:41, So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
APPL – Now many people are uncomfortable with talking about hell. Unfortunately, many churches avoid the topic too because they are afraid that it will chase people away.
- But if you were taking a cruise on the Titanic and knew it was going to sink, would you be afraid to make people feel “uncomfortable”?
- Isn’t it better to make people uncomfortable now so that they can be saved from being extremely uncomfortable in hell for all eternity?
APPL – Now many people ask, “If God is a God of love, why does He send people to hell?”
- First, it is important to note that God created hell for Satan and the fallen angels.
Matthew 25:41, Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels”
- Second, God will not send anyone to hell, they make that choice for themselves. God does not want any to perish.
Ezekiel 33:11, “As I live!” declares the Lord God, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!”
C.Do not fear because God is watching over you
1.Again Jesus said, “Do not fear” and the reason given in verse 31 should encourage the heart of every believer going through difficulties because of their faith. “You are more valuable than many sparrows.”
2.God is our Father and He is watching over our lives. Jesus used two pictures to make His point.
3.The first picture is that of a sparrow. Jesus said that not one sparrow will fall to the ground apart from your Father. So therefore, He will also watch over you because you are more valuable to the Father. You have been bought with a price…
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Do you not know that… you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price…
4.The second picture is that of the hairs on your head. Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
a.For some, present company included, that would not be a very impressive feat! Which reminds me of a funny story…
ILLUS – The man with only two hairs…
b.The point is God not only knows the total number of hairs, He numbers each hair individually, meaning, He knows everything and is mindful of all that happens to us
Psalm 139:1-6, O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.
II.Eternity Hangs in the Balance (32-42)
- Just think about how important these events are; God so loved the world that He sent his only Son… and here He is… giving them an eternal
- In verse 32 and following, Jesus explained why this is so important to understand.
A.Jesus will confess you before the Father
1.It is important to clarify these verses. It’s of critical importance that we are willing to make it be known that we belong to Christ.
Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…
2.This is one reason why it’s so important to have people baptized publicly and have them share their testimony of what Christ has done for them.
3.But it doesn’t mean that if you should fail at some point and either deny Christ or fail to confess Him, that your salvation will be null and void.
ILLUS – The Apostle Peter denied the Lord three times and was not only restored, he was commissioned and sent out.
4.But it does mean that at the end of the day, your desire will be honored. At some point the question will be called, “Is that your final answer?”
APPL – The good news is that Jesus is the One who will be our Advocate before our Father and will commend us to Him.
B. Love Jesus with an undivided heart
1.This next section is bothersome to some who wonder what Christ might mean when He said that He came to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother…
2.But it can be summarized best by the phrase, “Love Jesus with an undivided heart.”
3.It is true even today in many places in the world that if someone comes to faith in Jesus Christ that they may be in danger of losing their life.
4.What Jesus is saying is that the most important relationship we have is our relationship that we have with our heavenly Father.
5.But it is also important to understand that our relationship with our heavenly Father will make us a better husband or wife, son or daughter.
6.To take up our cross means that we love God more than the world, more than anyone in the world, more than life itself.
Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
7.Jesus then explained by using a paradox. In verse 39, He said, “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
8.If we live our lives focused on ourselves and constantly favoring ourselves, we will find that it only brings death. But if we allow our pride, our self-dependence, and self-will to die in Christ, our lives will bear the fruit of spiritual life.
John 12:24, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
I have decided to follow Jesus…