February 19, 2023 | Robbie Alderman
Passage: Mark 1:16-20
You may have caught onto something a little different in our Sunday morning service this week: It is DNOW weekend! Our students are all sitting up in the front and wearing the same shirt. We have had a great weekend running all over Spring Hill and Columbia worshipping Jesus, serving our community, and fellowshipping together. Amen, students? If you are joining us this morning and you have never been to a church that has been a part of a Discipleship Now weekend, since Friday night, our students have been diving into the Word of God in large and small group sessions, they have been worshipping together, serving together, and we even had time for a video scavenger hunt yesterday. It has been an awesome weekend. But more important than the fun we’ve had is that God’s name has been glorified. This morning, our students gathered together for their last small group session during the first service and are now joined with us as we collectively look at what we covered this weekend at DNOW.
Our theme for the weekend was “No Filter” and we dove into a number of different verses from God’s Word to flesh that out but our theme verse was Mark 1:17. We dove into what it means to see God clearly, see ourselves clearly, see others clearly, and this morning in small group, they discussed what it means to “Live Unfiltered.” And what I hope we will take away as a Church this morning is that God wants us to follow Him just as we are. God wants us to follow Him just as we are: No filter is needed. Following Jesus doesn’t take any kind of special circumstances or moment. In the middle of our grief, under the weight of our baggage, on our worst day, He wants us to come to Him without any second guessing. I want to dive straight into our text this morning so if we could stand for the reading of God’s word that would be awesome. What we see right off the bat from this text saying “Yes” to Jesus can come at any point and under any circumstance.
Mark 1:16-20 [ESV] 16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
1) Follow Jesus no matter what you’re doing. What I mean by that is that we find Jesus calling his disciples in the middle of their work environment. The calling of God doesn’t have to come in a sanctuary or at a student retreat or summer camp. It can happen at school or at work. We see God interacting with us and in our lives before we even begin to know or recognize who He is. We can see from looking at John 1:35-49 that Jesus has been building a relationship with these men for sometime. Why is this important for us? Because it shows us that while repenting and believing should be immediately succeeded by leaving and following, our initial step towards salvation does not have to be immediate. My whole life, I have heard about this verse and it has always been mentioned that the disciples just dropped what they were doing and left their careers and families for a total stranger. This always gave me a little bit of a pit in my stomach when the pastor would then ask, “If someone came along claiming to be the Son of God and commanded you to ‘Follow Him’ would you go?” My answer was always kind of a self conscious and hesitant “I guess so…” But if I am being honest with myself, the answer more than likely would’ve been “No.” There is so much context and relationship building hidden in between the lines of scripture it is safe to assume that Jesus had been interacting with these men for a while before He called them. They had heard Him teach. They had stayed to chat with Him after the crowds had left. They had felt the magic of His presence and the magnetism of His eyes. Their decision to follow Jesus began with a personal reaction to Himself. Following Jesus is a lot like falling in love. Me and Savannah’s early days of dating - I had heard Savannah say good things and I had watched her live her life in a way I was attracted to but ultimately I fell in love with her because of everything I had learned she was about. People follow Jesus because of what He says but also because of everything He is. Jesus was calling them to a task, to a mission and from their encounters with Him, they knew they wanted to be a part of it. No matter how dangerous, risky, scary, and despite what they would lose along the way. So yes, their response was immediate but their response came after He called them following a stirring in their hearts. The exciting part about our decision to follow Jesus is that while we may fear we will leave people behind (and we inevitably will), we are encouraged to invite others along the journey with us.
2) Follow Jesus and bring others with you. As Jesus begins to call his disciples we see Him begin to set the parameters and expectations for discipleship and the cost of discipleship. He shows the importance of discipleship by beginning His earthly ministry with calling people – with bringing others along for the mission. Sea of Galilee and fisherman - At any given time there would’ve been more than 300 fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee. Fish was a regular staple in people’s diet. There were two types of nets used by fishermen in these times. A trawl net and a smaller umbrella shaped net. The trawl net was let out from the end of the boat and weighted in a certain way so that it stood upright in the water. As the boat moved forward, the four corners of the net would pull together and bag up all the fish. The smaller net was shaped like an umbrella and cast by hand to the sides of the boat. Using the smaller net is a much more intentional and focused effort to catch fish rather than the trawl net. Jesus efforts with these fishermen was intentional and focused. And He was calling ordinary people to the task. We will talk more about this in a moment but Jesus didn’t set His focus on the wealthy or social elite – He set his sights on fishermen.
He knew they would understand the intentionality of His calling them. He was also drawing a parallel to a familiar Old Testament prophesy as well. There are many examples in the Old Testament in Amos 4:2, Jeremiah 16:16, and Ezekiel 29:3-5 where calling people to fish was used to bring people to judgement. Jesus was calling people to fish as a means of escaping judgement. Yet again, fulfilling the law and the Old Testament and showing God’s grace. Just as the disciples would have been watching His ministry, He would’ve been observing them and building relationship with them to call them to continuous discipleship. As the brother’s were learning more about Jesus from their interactions, they would’ve been talking to each other about Him and discussing the things He was talking about. They would’ve been learning more about Him. Before we can become ambassadors for Christ, we must become students of Christ. When Jesus commanded them to “Follow Him”, He was setting the expectation that their decision would be a once and for all determination to follow Jesus. This was not something they could go back on. Mark is posturing Jesus as an example of what he required of others and that was to bring others along on the journey. The past few weeks, in students we have been going through a series called Foundations. We have been talking through practical and basic steps to begin your faith or if you have been a Christian for a while where it looks like to start if you aren’t in a rhythm of reading your Bible, praying, understanding what and how worship, encouraging each other with accountability, and evangelizing to others. Power spoke to the students a couple weeks ago when we did the lesson on evangelism and challenged us to begin conversations with the question “What is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you?” Country music and storytelling - Jesus was able to draw so many people into His ministry and preaching because He was a great story teller. He beautifully wove life lessons into stories about prodigal sons, planting fields, talents and so much more. Jesus met people where they were at in life and drew them in with His masterful storytelling ability but He also invited messy people into His presence and then inspired and challenged them to change.
3) Follow Jesus as you are but know that your story will change forever. Mirror with writing on it - So what do I do? I begin to filter myself. Filtering just makes our picture of ourselves more unclear when we try to do it ourselves. Jesus doesn’t buy it. He sees right through the façade. There is not a greater guard and deflector to someone getting to know you and honestly know how to pray for you than to say “I’m busy.” What if that had been the disciple’s response when Jesus called them to follow Him? When we try to enhance the picture of our lives, all it does is make us more vague, more lonely, more broken. I said I’d come back to this so I want to say this: Jesus called ordinary, busy fishermen because of their ability to relate with so many. Stop trying to dress yourself up to come to Jesus! Come as you are! But know that you will never be the same. Jesus began His calling of followers with ordinary people and then turned their lives into extraordinary examples. Quote: “I will change the world with 12 ordinary men willing to give themselves to me.” – Jesus. If we are supposed to come to Jesus as we are, why do we spend so much time correcting and adjusting and trying to improve who we are? When we begin following Jesus, we need to let Him establish who we are and let that be the defining voice of how we see ourselves. Forgiven. Children of God. Heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. Beautifully and wonderfully made. Chosen. When we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us, we begin to live and act in a way that shows others we are changed. There is truly “no filter needed.” You see, when we stop trying to put up a façade and instead live according to who God says we are, it makes it easier to see God clearly. It makes it easier to see others clearly. And it makes it easier to see ourselves clearly.
Where are you at this morning Church at Spring Hill? Are you broken and hurting because of something that happened this week? Are you overwhelmed by the weight of your sin and feeling like you’ll never break free from it? Are you ashamed over something that happened in the past? A choice you made? Church, we have NOTHING to bring to the table. All we can do this morning is throw up our hands and sing Hallelujah over and over again. We are common people, fishermen entering into the presence of a holy and mighty God, the King of the Universe. Our only response can be to stretch our arms open wide and worship. Let’s pray.
Our students are participating in a weekend of discipleship called "Discipleship Now." This a special weekend for them to focus on and grow in their relationship with Jesus. We are excited to see how our students are impacted by the movement of the Holy Spirit over these days. We will connect with our students during our Sunday worship services. Our students will help lead worship and our message will focus on what the students have been hearing all weekend.