Matthew 4:17-22 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.

19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 

20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.  They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets.  Jesus called them,

22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus preached, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is Near.”

Jesus asked Peter and James to follow him and they left at once.

He called James and John to follow him and they also left their boat and their father immediately, without any hesitation.

What was it that caused them to respond to Jesus like they did?

Was there something within their spirits that told them that this was someone important?  Had they heard him preaching?  Did they witness his baptism with John? What motivated them to follow Jesus? These are questions that have always baffled me.

Now the question is,  ‘What is my own response to Jesus, calling me to follow him?

When I was first saved, I responded immediately.  I learned that God loved me!   At that time in my life I was desperate for love and to suddenly realize that the God of the universe Loved ME was huge!  It was like a light turning on.   I felt valued, and that I mattered!   I also experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit soon after accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit filled me up and was flowing all around me.  I felt a warm tingling sensation and a pulsating within that felt like God’s great big hand was holding my tiny hand, but the two were one!  It was so incredible, and hard to describe, but it changed my life forever.

I wonder if the disciples had a sense of who Jesus was; that the Kingdom of Heaven was near; inside of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself…

We can have the Kingdom of Heaven living inside of us also, through the Holy Spirit of Jesus!  As we are reconciled to God through Christ, we begin a life changing journey of following Jesus.  Which requires us to let go of our own will and surrender it to God.

The disciples left their whole life and family to follow Jesus!

They each dedicated their lives to telling others about Jesus and spreading the gospel, and most of them were martyred for their faith.

Is he asking us to do the same?

Well, … yes!  Perhaps-

He may not be calling us away from our families and jobs, but he is calling us away from whatever it is that is holding us back from following him completely with all that we are and all that we have.

It may mean separating from what you learned or practiced growing up, and even from family and friends who may not approve or even reject you because you are following Jesus.

Instead of keeping God and our daily lives separate, we are to look at everything from God’s perspective.  How can I work at my job for God?  How can I care for my family for God?  How can I reach out to others for God?

Pastor Delton’s message Sunday was so very powerful on the words “Thy Kingdom Come…” and how ‘with Jesus the “reign of God” broke in to do battle with the other rulers- “Sin and Evil”.  He also said, “We ask God to come into our situation.  He is our help!  The Kingdom must come down.  There is no hope if you,  don’t come Lord.”

By myself I can only go so far before I run out of energy, patience, and the motivation to keep going.

By the power of the Holy Spirit living and breathing within me, I have the confidence and strength to do all that the Lord has given me to do today!

He is calling us to come from being our own gods, to letting him be our only God!

He is calling us to be like Christ, who humbled himself and became a servant.

We are called individually, and as the church to sacrifice our own self, so that the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus, can come an live in us and work through us.  When we  surrender our lives to Jesus,  and come together in unity, then we are as the body of Christ to the world.   The Kingdom comes on earth, through the church!

Our Father,  May your Kingdom Come to each of us today.  Please help us to let you reign and rule over us and help us to let go of ourselves to receive all of you inside of our hearts and to be willing to follow you and obey you so together we can reach the world.

In Jesus Name,   Amen.