Sermon:  Follow Me 

Summary:  Christian discipleship involves putting away personal pride in order 
to follow Christ even if it leads to sacrifice, because it is in selfless giving 
that God is glorified.

Know:  To be a disciple of Christ, one needs follow Christ selflessly and 

Feel:  Love and loyalty to Christ, his mission and his character

Do:  Discuss and reflect on how rivalry shows itself in the Christian life, and 
identify some ways to eliminate personal rivalries so you can focus on following 
Christ.  Compare John's call to humble glory to your own opportunities for "glory" 
in following Christ selflessly and sacrificially. 

Text:  Jn 21:18-25

Scripture Reading:  .Lk 9:57-62

1.  Have you ever known anyone who HAD to have the last word?
	- Want what they say to hang in the air, to be remembered
2.  Last word in the book of John is a word on discipleship
	a.  The last words in John are "You follow me"
	b.  Christianity is not just about salvation
	c.  Salvation is an event, discipleship is a lifestyle
	d.  We were saved so we can follow Christ
3.  Jesus is our example in all things
	a.  He is our example of what it means to be holy and devoted
	b.  He is our example of  kindness, and compassion
	c.  He is our example of what it means to love God and love others
	d.  He is our example of what love for the lost looks like
4.  Text:  John 21:18-25 - Talk about what is needed for discipleship

I.  Absence of Rivalry
	A.  There should be no selfish ambition or pride in discipleship
	B.  There was rivalry among the disciples
		1.  You see it in several instances
			a. James and John wanted to sit on his right and left
			b. They would discuss which of them was the greatest
		2.  Still see a hint of rivalry in this text?
			a. Jesus tells Peter how he will die in glory
			b. Peter turns around and sees John following
			c. Question:  What about him?
			d. Would John die in glory as Christ did?
		3.  Answer:  That should not matter to you
			a. You follow me
			b. The "you" is emphatic in Greek
				- Saying not to focus on others
				- You follow me
		4.  Problem:  Ambition, pride, one-upmanship, etc. will destroy the 
	C.  ILL:  Imagine a sports team trying to win a game
		1.  Imagine a couple of players who want to be the star
		2.  Imagine what it might be like
			a. Their focus probably on competing with each other rather 
    			     than the opposing team
			b. They think of themselves rather than the team
			c. Other team members may start to resent them
			d. Disunity, team become a one man show - destroys team
	D.  Rivalry can destroy the church
		1.  Jesus try nip this in the bud with a child (Mk 9:33-37; 10:13-15)
			a. When they argue about the greatest, what did they do?
			b. Used child as an object lesson
				- Children have no status, they are little people
				- Need to become little people
		2.  Jesus deals with it again in this morning's passage
		3.  Do not worry about the others, YOU follow me
			a. No worry if someone a better teacher, preacher, artist, etc
			b. This is why LTC does not compete against each other
		4.  Rivalry destroys authentic ministry
			a. We need to put away selfish ambition and rivalry
			b. **We need simply to follow him...

II. Follow Christ
	A.  Let me ask some questions
		1.  How many are truly are a Christian?  Raise your hand
		2.  How many are truly a disciple?  Raise your hand
		3.  Why not the same number for each?
		4.  If raised hand the first time and hesitated the second, why?
	B.  We need to understand that a disciple and Christian are synonymous 
		1.  A disciple is a follower, and Jesus said "follow me"
			a. Key phrase is "follow me"
				- More than just "watch me"
				- More than just "listen to me"
				- More than just "read about me"
				- It is "follow me."  
			b. A disciple is not just an academic student
				- Student gets "information" from his teacher
				- A disciples gets "transformation" from his teacher
				- A disciple follows and imitates his teacher
			c. Lk 6:40 - A disciple trains to be like his teacher
			d. As disciples, we are growing to be like Christ
		2.  Jesus is our example of discipleship
			a.  Jn 5:19, 30; 14:11 - Father is in him, he is in the Father
				- Christ does only what the Father does 
				- If we are disciples of Christ, we do what he does
				- Jn 15:1-5 - If Jesus in us, we in him, bear fruit
					-- Means doing as he does
					-- Then we bear fruit
					-- Prove to be his disciples
			b.  Jn 8:12 - Jesus said "I am the light of the world"
				- Mt 5:14-16 - Said "you" (plural) are the light of the 
				- We do as light of the world did, and in turn we also 
				  become light
			c.  Eph 5:2, 25 - Jesus loved us like a bride
				- Jn 13:34-35 - Instructs us to love like he loved
				- This will show your discipleship
			d.  Lk 9:23 - If wish come after him...
				- Deny yourself
				- Take up your cross
				- Follow him
		3.  Paul understood discipleship
			a.  2 Cor 12:15 - Would gladly spend and be expended for 
			     souls -- He loved people as Jesus did
			b.  1 Cor 15:31 - Said, "I die daily" -- Took up his cross daily
			c.  1 Cor 11:1 - Followed in such a way that he could say, 
			     "be imitators of me as I am of Christ"
		4.  Jesus wants us to be a devoted disciple, not mediocre member
	C.  Fred a mediocre Christian, decided no longer to be mediocre
		1.  Here is what is his Christianity amounted to
			a.  Attending church, and usually classes
			b.  Being considered a "member" of the organization
			c.  Other than this, he was no different than unbelievers
		2.  Began to read the Bible, light shone on him
			a.  It hit him - Christianity is not merely about "attendance"
			b.  Being a Christian is not about being a "member" of an 
			c.  Being a Christian is about being a member of the body of 
				- Jesus is the head of the body
				- We are his hands, feet, ears, eyes, mouth
				- We are to do as he did
		3.  It means taking up your cross daily and following him
	D.  If you are a Christian, then you are also to be a disciple
		1.  A disciple is a devoted follower, part of the body of Christ
		2.  This means we imitate Christ, do as he does
		3.  **It is not an easy road, but it is a glorious one...
III.  Self-Sacrifice
	A.  Following his path is inherently sacrificial
		1.  Jesus who is God humbled himself
		2.  He was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross
	B.  Peter followed Christ's example even in death
		1.  Jesus spoke of how Peter would die
			a.  Like Christ, he too would be crucified
				- Early church confirms that he was indeed crucified
				- Peter had requested to be crucified upside down
			b.  Previously he stated he was willing to die for Christ
			c.  Not only would he die for Christ, he would die like Christ
			d.  Peter would not deny Christ again, he literally took up his 
			     cross and followed Christ
		2.  See the same attitude in other disciples
			a.  Were flogged and warned by the authorities - Acts 5:40f
			b.  Rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer 
			     for the name of Christ!
			c.  They didn't stop even in the midst of opposition
			d.  They were following Christ
		3.  Suffering and death were connected with "glory"
			a.  Often, they refer to Jesus' death as simply his "glory"
			b.  It is not some shameful, despised thing
			c.  It is was glory for Christ, then it is glory for us as well
			d.  In so doing, we become a sacrifice, pleasing to God
				- 2 Tim 4:6; Phil 2:17 - Paul poured himself out an a 
				  drink offering
				- He was following the example of Christ who "poured 
				  himself out" - Phil 2:7
		4.  Remember in the kingdom, sacrifice = glory
	C.  ILL:  Consider what it looks like when Christians take this to heart
		1.  Early Christians
			a.  Many were thrown to the lions, burned, killed in arena
			b.  They saw it as "glory" and faced it with courage, strength 
			     and dignity
			c.  They did not beg or cower in fear
			d.  Many onlookers, convicted by this, became Christians
				- Their suffering had a redemptive effect like Christ
				- They were taking up their cross and following him
		2.  Maria, a woman in Connecticut
			a.  Known as "Mama" in her neighborhood
			b.  She tells everyone she loves the Lord and is blessed
				- She says she wants to share Jesus with everyone
				- She does it in a unique way
			c.  She helps people any way she can
				- Feeds people from her table, even if they drop in
				- Puts people up at her place of no place to stay
				- Give away her own things when people in need, 
				  such as clothes, food, even her own bed
				- Sometimes she is sad because she doesn't have 
				   more to give
			d.  She is on a limited income!  
				- Here is someone who can truly say, "I die daily"
				- People who not think about God and turning to him
				- They beginning to understand that God does love 
	D.  What about us?  What does it mean to say, "I die daily"
		1.  When you are tempted with temptation?
			a.  Tempted to lie, steal, cheat - Say "I die daily"
			b.  Tempted to sexual immorality - "I die daily"
			c.  To hide your faith, to compromise it - "I die daily"
		2.  When you find someone in need?
			a.  If know of someone hungry - "I die daily"
			b.  Someone need clothing - "I die daily"
			c.  If in prison - "I die daily"
			d.  Someone need a friend, comfort, encouragement - "I die 
		3.  When you see someone in need of Christ?
			a.  If they have not tasted and seen that the Lord is good - "I 
			     die daily"
			b.  If have not experienced the love of God - "I die daily"
			c.  If they have not heard the Gospel - "I die daily"
		4.  When they see anything like any of this
			a.  Question is not - "What am I going to do"
			b.  Question is - "What would Christ do?"
			c.  He pours himself out, and that is glory

1.  Are you a Christian?  (inv)
2.  If you are a Christian, you are also a disciple
	a.  Follow Christ without any rivalry
	b.  Follow Christ even if it means suffering, sacrifice, inconvenience
	c.  Follow Christ to...
		- Service, helping, giving
		- Share the Gospel
		- Lay down your life - "I die daily"
	d.  When follow Christ sacrificially, that is glory
3.  If you have not died with Christ, then today is a good day to that you can 
truly live


Small Group Questions:  Follow Me

Summary:  Christian discipleship involves putting away personal pride in order to follow 
Christ even if it leads to sacrifice, because it is in selfless giving that God is glorified.

Open:  (choose one)
- When do you feel most competitive?  
- What is the best competition you have ever had?

Explore:  Jn 21.18-25

1.  Why was it of no concern to Peter what happened to the other disciple?  What was Peter's 
focus to be and why?

2.  Where will "follow me" ultimately lead for Peter?  What effect(s) might this have on other 
believers?  Will it strengthen or weaken them?  Encourage or discourage them?

3.  What other things would Jesus' instruction, "follow me" mean for Peter and the other 

4.  Previously, Peter's desire was to die with Christ if he had to, but he instead denied Christ 
three times.  How might what Jesus says here encourage Peter?  What does this say about Christ?  
About Peter?


5.  What are some you have seen or experienced subtle or not so subtle rivalry, "one-up-man-ship" 
and pride in your own life?  What ways could this have been detrimental?

6.  Reflect on the meaning of this statement - "The glory of the cross."  What does it mean?  
How might the "glory of the cross" help you to look past personal ambition and simply make following 
Christ your ambition?

7.  What are some very specific ways you can apply this lesson to your own life?