It is this Jesus that hung on a cross for you, who died for you, who rose on the third day for you, that is calling you to walk with Him in repentance and obedience. I don’t know what your next step is, but I do know this: You have one. God will never be finished taking you deeper in faith. There is always a next step. If you have not agreed to walk with God, then where are you headed?
How you live, your priorities, these are seen in what you place first. Are you proclaiming either the Kingdom of God, the World, or at best that lukewarm version of a kingdom you have invented that gives no glory to God with your actions, your words, or your resources?
God is going to ask us to do things that, to us, seem difficult if not impossible. He is asking us to go where we cannot see. He is going to take us places we have never been, ask us to do things we have never done nor know how to do.
And until we are willing to take that Next Step of Faith, in obedience, we will never accomplish what God wants us to do, go where God wants us to go or see what God wants us to see.
Peter began his following when he and his brother Andrew heard Jesus’s call “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” So Jesus’ first and – as we will soon discover – last commands to Peter are “Follow Me.”
Not only was his name changed… but his whole life as he journeyed with his Lord, he was still the same man but things within were changing. He was changing because he followed Christ, he was becoming more while on his journey with Jesus because of his love for Him.
I don’t think these men lost their faith. I believe they did what most people in our country do today: they set it aside, this new commission… they went back to what they knew because things were not what they were with Jesus there in their midst. No Holy Spirit…
But none of this would have happened without the obedience of the two that were sent… Imagine if they didn’t follow what Jesus said… if they had been disobedient to what they were told… If you do not follow His teachings, if you are not obedient to the knowledge you have, then you are living in unbelief. If you are not seeking after Christ, following to learn, then you are stale, stuck, and stagnant and, therefore, in danger of falling away in unbelief!
Your faith will never be mature and perfect until you’ve learned to step out and act on the knowledge you have. As Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God …” (John 7:17). Among other things, this means pressing forward in spite of your feelings –getting past your fears and anxieties and doing what needs to be done even when your emotions, your feelings, are screaming at you to cut and run.
When you responded to the call of God to come to Jesus and to receive the gift offered you in what He accomplished on the cross, at that point you were commissioned to be His witness in this world as part of His Church, to bring about change, to build community through the application of the one anothers of God’s Word and to reach out to your neighbor!
Oh but Pastor I couldn’t possibly do that. I don’t have the knowledge…
Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, Lazarus answered that call…Jesus called him who was dead in the flesh out of his tomb; He calls the world dead in their sin to new life in Him! Jesus opened the way for us to be raised. “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” Hosea 13:14
Jesus prayed that we would be one! That we here would be one and that we would be one with the rest of His church. That means that you and I have to become part of the Gospel story. Jesus suffered horrendously before and during the Crucifixion for you. We can no longer afford to sit by and do nothing. You can’t make the excuse, “Let somebody else do it.” That it’s someone else’s thing. You are the one called to Go! Take the Next Step!
Our enemy uses our weaknesses, our biases, our hurt, and the situations and circumstances of life to further His kingdom in this world. God, in His infinite wisdom, authority, and control uses those same things for the good of those that Love Him, who walk according to His will: who walk in obedience.
As Believers we need to set aside our fear of what others are saying or doing or what we think they might say or do and take our Next Step. Either we walk in fear as Pilate did and in the process reject the Truth and serve the World, or we Take our Next Step in courage making the right choices, Truth choices, that Jesus has led us to…