I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

Bible Book: John  1 : 35-39
Subject: Commitment; Discipleship; Salvation

It was a warm spring day when two of John's disciples decided to follow Jesus. They were followers of John the Baptists' teachings and had gone to hear him preach. For a second time John the Baptist dramatically pointed to Jesus of Nazareth and said, "Look, the Lamb of God." It was then the two men decided to follow Jesus. We know from the verses surrounding the text that one of the men was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. The two men must have been a little shy about approaching the One whom John had identified as the Lamb of God, so they followed at some distance. Jesus kindly turned and went to them and asked the great question: “What do you want?”

What is it that most of us are looking for? What were these men seeking when they followed Jesus at a distance? What did they really want? I’ll tell you what they were seeking, they were looking for meaning in life and answers to eternity. Is there more to life than working, eating and sleeping, followed by death?

There is the story of two young, arrogant college men who were going to take a trip on a train. They boarded what appeared to be the most beautiful car they could find. Inside it was rich with leather and the most lovely appointments. "We're riding on this car no matter anyone says!" The other fellow agreed with him. Just then, the porter stepped into the car and said, "Gentlemen, you'll have to vacate this car and find another." The prideful college man said, "We aren't going anywhere. We staying in this car!" The porter said, "Okay by me! But, this car ain't hooked to nothing, so you ain't going nowhere!"

The two men who followed Jesus felt that in Him they just might find the answers to life’s greatest questions - they had a sense that going with Jesus meant they were going somewhere! This was a wonderful day for these two men, and the decision to follow Jesus was the greatest one they were to ever make in life. They would become disciples of Jesus Christ. However, this day also signaled a radical change in their lives. Deciding to follow Jesus - really follow Jesus - does that to a person.

 I want to point out three things it means to follow Jesus – to trust Him as Lord and Savior. There is more to following Him than the three things I will mention today, but these three are a bit veiled but are critical and evident in the decision to trust and trust and follow Christ.

I. Following Jesus means Giving your Time

Note that two disciples followed Jesus, and in doing so it cost these men the investment of precious time. Time is what life on this earth is made of, and when we spend it we are making an investment we cannot ever have returned. You can save money, but you can’t actually save time. When I was growing up, many commercials touted the time-saving nature of the device being sold. Well, we bought those things and many more since, yet we still feel we don’t have enough time. Why? It is simple – you can’t save time, you can only spend it!

The men following Jesus that day were fishermen and sometimes they would fish all night. To have some free time was a blessing, like it is for you and me. Yet they gave that free time to follow Jesus, and anyone who wishes to follow Jesus will have to give up time to do so.

Few realize that time is a gift to us from God. Again and again in the scriptures we are told to use time wisely.

In Ephesians we are told to redeem the time for the days are evil. This means that we are not to let time drip away moment by moment but rather we are to use it for the Lord, who is the One who gave it to us. Since the fall of Adam, every age has been evil. Those who know and love the Lord are to use the time for God's purposes in our own evil generation. One thing that proves that you are or that you are not a follower of Jesus, and that is the way you use time! (Ephesians 5:16)

 In Ecclesiastes we are told to remember the Creator in the days of our youth before the evil days come and we are too old to serve Him with full strength. (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

In Psalms we are told to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

So we see that time is a gift from God! We cannot follow Jesus properly and abuse this wonderful blessing. Do you and I use time to study God’s Word, to pray properly, to witness to others, to serve Him faithfully, to worship Him with others and to live godly lives? It is His time. He gave it to us. One day He will ask for an accounting as to how we used it.

II. Following Jesus means Giving of your Treasure

A direct message on stewardship of possessions is not taught here but it certainly is implied. For these two men to follow Christ meant the forfeiture of a full day of fishing - it was a large gift indeed. Their livelihood depended on catching and selling fish. To follow Jesus and listen to Him meant that they were going to miss important time earning a living. Serving Christ always calls for faithful stewardship of our treasures.

You recall, I’m sure, the rich young man who came to Jesus. Sadly, only one thing stood between that man and Christ – the rich young man loved money. You can’t serve the Lord properly, if money is your master. We read this in Matthew 6:16-22. Jesus taught us not to lay up treasure on earth but in Heaven.

Malachi 3 teaches us failing to give God's tithes and our offerings to the Lord is actually a act of robbing God!

Leviticus 27:30 teaches us that the tithe is the Lords and does not actually belong to us at all.

Matthew 23:23 reminds us that Jesus endorsed tithing.

Sure, there are some people that argue against tithing, saying that it is part of the Old Testament Law and does not apply to New Testament Christianity. Tithing is not legalistic, for the first tithe given is found in Genesis 14, long before the law was given. Serving God with treasure is not a matter of legality but a matter of love and loyalty!

Giving is Biblical – there are about five-hundred verses on prayer, and five-hundred verses on faith, but there are over two-thousand verses concerning on money and possessions in the Bible. Though I've never counted them, I've read that one out of every ten verses in the New Testament concerns possessions in one way or another.

Some people have a disease when it comes to money. Have you heard about the disease called ‘cirrhosis of the giver’? It is an acute condition which renders the hand of the ailing person incapable of reaching into his or her wallet or purse in order to give faithfully to God’s work and service. You see, the disease seems to only occur in a church, but is never a problem at the mall, the golf course, or the restaurant! The only cure for this disease is a new-found love for Christ!

We are all familiar with the story of the big fool with the little barn. His plans were to tear down the little barn and build bigger ones so he could store all the goods. These goods, he felt, promised him a healthy and wealthy future. But God said of Him, “Thou foul, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. (Luke 20:12)” Bigger barns don’t help when you have an appointment with God the next day!

Somewhere I read the story of a missionary who came home from the mission field and was invited to an important dinner at a fine restaurant. There he met some very wealthy people who were dressed in fine jewels, diamonds and designer clothes. He called his wife after the meal and told her about it. He said, "I saw a most unusual thing today. I saw people wearing a church, forty organs, and twenty libraries at a meal." Of course, he meant that the things they were wearing would have bought those much needed items for his missions work. But I wonder how many people have robbed God and are wearing their stolen tithes this morning. How many have taken trips this summer with God's money while the work of God slows to a crawl around the world. I wonder how many have increased their goods this year by taking from God the very tithe which he gave them to start with.

J. Leo Green says that things (money and possessions) have 4 purposes for man:

1. So that we may Exist
2. So that we may Enjoy
3. So that we may Enrich
4. So that we may Express

He is right, you do express yourself with the way you spend and use your possessions. It shows you are a follower of true follower of Jesus or you are not!

Friend, you cannot possibly serve God and follow Jesus Christ properly if you do not tithe and give offerings to God

III. Following Jesus means Giving your Talents

These men were fishermen and the one great talent they had was catching fish. They did little else in life, so when they dropped their nets to follow Jesus they were committing all they had to Him. A part of following Jesus means to give Him our abilities - whatever they may be. Like these disciples, believers are surprised at their abilities once Jesus had touched them and granted them new talents and gifts through the Holy Spirit.

Just think about Andrew, who became one of the world's greatest soul-winners – he is the one who brought Peter to Christ. And then, think about Simon Peter – he became one of the world's greatest preachers, delivering a sermon at Pentecost that saw three-thousand people saved. We all remember John – he became one of the world's greatest writers, penning a gospel, three epistles and the Book of Revelation. On and on the story could go, relating the amazing changes Jesus can make in the life of simple servants who follow Him and commit all to Him.

When we give our abilities to Christ, he transforms them into mighty tools for His glory and for our own blessing. He takes a little lunch and uses it to feed thousands. I’ve had the privilege to see many people come to Christ in over fifty years of Christian ministry. Some of them came out of bars, pool halls, drug houses and other places that held only ruin in their futures. Yet, I saw some of these people transformed into those who sing in the choir or in Christian signing groups. I watched as others became Bible teachers in our churches, and God gave them such incredible abilities to teach God’s Word. Yet others became soul-winners, mission team participants, youth leaders, or carried out other critical work in the kingdom of God. Again, I saw some saved who occupied lofty places in business or government, but they were on their way to losing their families or to lives wasted in selfish ambition prior to their redemption. What a difference Jesus made in their lives. They became great leaders in the church, often giving large amounts of money to building projects and mission efforts for our Lord.

Here is the real issue, no labor in the Lord is ever in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). To live for this world means nothing in the end. When one great billionaire died, someone asked, “How much did he leave?” The answer was, “He left it all!” But, when we store up treasure in heaven, including the treasure of our talents and abilities, we are doing something that will never lose its significance.


I must conclude this message, so let me ask you a question as I do so? Do you think those disciples ever regretted leaving those fishing nets, giving all their time, treasure and talent to Christ? What a foolish question – Never! Not once did they rue the day they followed Jesus. Now, here is a far more important question – do you think they regret it right now? You see, they are with the Lord at this moment. Jesus promised a place in His presence forever to all those who trust Him by faith. Their joy today is beyond our wildest imagination.

Have you trusted Christ as your Savior? You can, but you only have so much time to do so. Someone has placed the life of a person on a clock, as if it were a 24 hour day. On such a clock, if you are 15 it is now almost 9:00 AM already. If you are 20 years old, it is past 11:00 AM. If you are 25, it is now the mid-lunch hour of the day. If you are 30, it is 1:25 PM. If you are 40, it is past 4:00 PM. If you are 50, it is almost 7:00 PM. If you are 60, it is after 10:00 PM. If you are 70 or older, it is almost midnight. Actually, however, we don’t what time it is on that life-clock. You see, if a twenty-year-old person is going to die next week, it is midnight right now! Come to the Lord today – it is a decision you will never regret.

Then, let me ask every Christian in this worship service today, are you fully committed as a disciple of Christ? Time, Treasure and Talent must be given to Christ, if we are to be true disciples of our Lord. Today is the day to make that deeper commitment to Him!

A preacher friend of mine told me some time back about the first time he heard the song, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” It was early in his ministerial life, many decades ago, but he was so touched by it that he found the words, wrote them on a piece of paper and placed them in his Bible. He read them often and asked, “Am I really following Jesus? Am I following Him with everything in my life?” I know that preacher well, and I can tell you he has done just that! Do you know why he followed so faithfully? He planned to! He made a commitment to! He renewed his commitment often! Let us do that right now.