Waynedale United Methodist Church
Monday, March 30, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

Aug 14, 2016 Sermon

“Connecting to Christ: Making Disciples”
Mark 1:14 – 20
Ted Jansen  August 14, 2016  Waynedale UMC
            Vision is seeing the future with God’s Conviction.  My prayer is that we might gain a fresh vision for the Waynedale Church through the statement, “Connecting to Christ and Community!”   
1.)        The book of Mark begins with the news that John the Baptist is getting people ready for Jesus.  John does this by baptizing people and calling them to repent.    
John baptizes Jesus as we read these words, “As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descended on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10, 11) 
            This message from God was powerful and vital for Jesus.  It was a blessing that God gave Him as we began His ministry.  “You are my child, I love you, I am pleased with you.”  Those are words that Jesus needed to know in His soul and spirit when He began ministry. 
            Jesus heard the message and was tested in the wilderness by Satan.  For 40 days Jesus held on to the message, “You are my Son, I love you, with you I am well pleased.”  Jesus made sure He was assured of God’s blessing. 
2.)        Jesus begins ministry by proclaiming this message of good news; “The time has come, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news.”  (Mark 1:15)
            As Jesus spoke you hear the urgency, the important missions He is on, the need for change and belief as He begins ministry.  Mark then writes these words, “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman.  Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of me.”  (Mark 1:16, 17) 
            This call, this invitation, this offer was so compelling that they left their nets, their family, their town and followed Jesus. 
            James and John also followed Jesus when they were called to “Come, Follow Me!” 
3.)        I wanted to learn about the word, “come.”  So I did a little research and I found out that the word, come, is only used in Mark’s writing one other time. (Mark 6:31) 
The word, come, links to what follows next.  “Follow me” are the words that Jesus said in His invitation.   Other Greek words for “come” in Mark and the New Testament are found but the Greek word, deute, is only used 12 times in the entire New Testament.  
            This term is a specific term to strongly connect to Jesus, as a person.  When Jesus said to “come” it was not a general sense of join an adventure, or travel to a different part of the country, or get away from your fishing.  This was connected to His life and His presence.    
            Contrast that specific linkage to a person to a general term.  If someone would say to you, please come to the school, or please come to the store, or please come to church, you would understand them in a general way.    
            The term used was to be very specific.  Come to Waynedale Elementary School, Room 112 and meet Mr. Smith.
Come was meant to be linked to Jesus and follow Him.  The call, come, was to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  They were to focus on Him in all that they did. 
            Let us understand that word come in the context of following Jesus and consider an image that might help us grow our vision of the church.  
4.)        I want you to picture one hand reaching out to another hand.  Consider the one hand as Jesus who is reaching out to you and your hand, saying, “come, follow me.”  Gain a vision of the Hand of Christ reaching out to you.  See this hand of love from the Father. 
            See this hand reaching out to you today and from all of your past to let you know that you are a child of God, that you are loved, and that God is pleased with you.    
5.)        John Wesley taught that God is always loving us.  This is called Grace.  Wesley spoke about Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace and Sanctifying Grace. 
Prevenient Grace, which is the grace that God expressed before we ever desired love, is the hand of Christ reaching out to you.  Can you see the hand of Christ that has been reaching, reaching, and reaching for your hand for days, weeks, months, years and years?  Grace is reaching out to us.   
6.)        When Jesus spoke to James and John and Simon and Andrew He wanted them to be in a relationship with Him. Come, follow me.  Come and be in a relationship with me. 
            This is what God has placed on my heart for our life together.  We connect people to the hand of Christ.  This is the first aspect of the vision of connecting to Christ and community.    
7.)        We need to be the hands of Christ to those that sometimes don’t see God’s hand reaching out to them.  There are times we don’t see God’s hand reaching out to us. 
We don’t believe that we are created in the image of God, that we are not a child of God.   We don’t believe that we are worthy of love, we struggle with our esteem or the harmful messages that others have communicated to us.  We don’t believe we can be loved unconditionally, we feel like we have to measure up or do something to be loved. 
            We all need to see the hand that is clearly in front of us, or else we will go down a path that will cause us strain and struggle.  If we don’t hold on the hand of Christ we could be way off on the wrong path.    
8.)        While driving up to Detroit last weekend Sue and I, who were driving in two cars, had to go around Toledo.  I looked at a map and decided to go on 475 south and then pick up 75 north.
As I got close to Toledo I saw an orange sign that said 75 north should take 475 north.  This was the opposite direction I wanted to go.  It was farther so I decided to disregard that sign. 
            All was well until the sign came for a detour for 75.  The exit ramp was being completely rebuilt.  I had to go south for 5 or more miles until we were all redirected back on 75.
This detour caused us to go out of the way, which added to our time traveling, then we had to find a bathroom stop.  The road to get back on 75 was a little confusing and Sue and I were not following each other.  Then another detour caused a wrong turn and more delays.  Sue and I were not able to see each other until we met at a Michigan Welcome Center 10 miles down the road. 
            I did not follow the right sign and this caused all sorts of stress.  We follow our own path from time to time.  Jesus says to us, “Come, Follow Me.”  I know the path you need to be on. 
11.)      “Come, Follow Me,” as I ask you to remember me in the celebration of Communion. “Come, Follow Me,” as you take the bread and think of my body.  “Come Follow Me,” as you take the juice and think of my blood that was shed on the cross so that we might be forgiven. 
            Come to Christ and let His hand reach out and hold our hand. 
12.)      Lord, thank you for your love.  Your grace has reached my heart.  I believe that you love me, you died on a cross for me.  Forgive me for my sins and come into my heart today.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would guide me.  Amen.