Sermon at the North London Fellowship (Breakfast Meet and Greet)

Stoke Newington High Street Methodist Church,

106 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7NY. 

Date Saturday 30th July 2022.   Preacher: Mr Olu Akinyemi.

Theme: Come let us Follow Christ.

Text:    TEXT:  LUKE 9: 51 – 62 (New International Version)

Our text gives account of three different reactions to the call to follow Christ. To each of the three persons, Jesus gave honest answers nothing but the truth. These answers were not necessary   what were expected but what were deserved!

What excuses or stories have you made or are you making when you are called to follow Christ and join the Chaplaincy.

Committed followers of Christ are required rather than those who pay lip services to following Christ or speeches made solely as a recruitment exercise to fill the chaplaincy. Yes, we want security in all we do, we want the assurance that our newly formed chaplaincy will be a success, yet our security is based on our faith in God.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” Hebrews 11: 1-2 (NIV)

We will now examine all three encounters and see how they speak to us today as we consider the call to follow Christ and join the fellowship of the chaplaincy.

First Person: This person said to Jesus, I will follow you, wherever you go!

Jesus replied: Foxes have dens and birds have nests but the son of man has no place to lay his head.  How will you react, what will you do? Will you follow such a leader? Jesus does not promise us material security but the assurance that he will be with us through all we encounter and to the very end of our days here on earth and to eternity. This might be contrary or against the prosperity preaching which we have now become accustomed to.  Jesus teaches “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you all” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Second Person:  This person did not ask to follow Jesus, Jesus Christ asked him to follow him.

Does this or should this make a difference to how we respond to the call to follow Christ?  This man gave a valid reason or was this an excuse?. The purpose of which was to delay the decision either to follow Jesus or not.

What reasons have you given or in fact are you giving to delay your commitment to associate with the Chaplaincy or not.

“Lord, first let me go and bury my father” On the surface, appears a genuine reason. However, bible scholars had raised doubts about the person’s sincerity.

  1. If truly, he had just suffered a bereavement, why was he in the crowd?
  2. If truly his father was elderly, how long will he have to suspend the decision to follow Christ, surely he would not have known how long it will be before the father’s death!

Perhaps, he simply wanted to delay the decision to follow Christ.

Jesus replied, “Let the dead bury their dead! What do you make of this response by Jesus Christ?.  Surely, Jesus who instructed us to “Honour you father and mother, so that you may have a long, full life in the land the Lord your God have given you (Exodus 20:12) could not have been that dismissive.   It leaves us to believe that Jesus saw through the man’s hypocrisy and effectively made a deep spiritual statement.

Those who are not in Christ are spiritually dead. Therefore, let those that are dead (Spiritually) bury their dead.

Third and the last person:

This person said to Jesus, I will follow you but let me go back and say good bye to my family.  Answering the call to follow Jesus does not mean immediately turning your back on relationships that have sustained you, you are called to follow Jesus just as you are. Bring those relationships to Jesus so that together you may all receive from God forgiveness, Grace and empowerment.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.

Jesus does not want us to forget those relationships that have given us security rather he wants us to bring them to him for his purpose and glory.

Likewise, the chaplaincy do not want you to leave your local churches, you are to continue in the fellowship which have nurtured you being light and salt as the scriptures reminds us but to associate with the chaplaincy to the glory of God. May God grant us the Grace to follow Him.

I conclude with the words of Apostle Paul, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3 : 14 (NIV) Amen