Following at a Distance

Text: John 18:1-27 & Mark 14:43-72

FOLLOWING CLOSELY

ADVANTAGES:

Always in the presence of Jesus

Easy to hear His voice

You will be identified with Jesus


RISKS:

Potentially receiving the same treatment as Jesus

Greater likelihood of persecution

You may be identified with Jesus Footnotes:

John 18:10-11 “Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Peter was close to Jesus when He was arrested.

He was near enough to defend Jesus by cutting off the

ear of one of the mob.

He was near enough to earn a rebuke from Jesus


Mark 14:50-54 “And they all left Him and fled. A young man was following Him, wearing nothing

but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they

seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet

and escaped naked. They led Jesus away to the

high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders

and the scribes gathered together. Peter had

followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard

of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire. Mark escaped even losing the shirt off his back!

As they led Jesus away, Peter followed at a distance.


FOLLOWING AT A DUSTABCE

ADVANTAGES:

Limits your personal risk

Obecience seems optional

Greater personal autonomy

RISKS:

More likely to compromise your faith

More likely to lie

More likely to deny Christ

More likely to be unsaved

Footnotes:

We give Peter a hard time for his denials, but he was still following even at a distance. (Nearly all the others fled completely except John)

However, Peter’s desire to know what was going on, and his desire to avoid exposure as a disciple, led to his denials.

SO MANY CHURCH ATTENDERS WANT TO BE

AFFILIATED WITH WHAT’S GOING ON AT

CHURCH BUT DON’T REALLY WANT TO BE

IDENTIFIED AS A FOLLOWER OF JESUS.

MOVING CLOSER

DESIRE – The reality of a deeper devotion to Jesus

DECIDE – The choice to make a change

DETERMINATION – The will to change our actions

DOING – The act of obedience

DISCIPLINE – The daily decisions of repeated

behavior


Footnotes:

Decision: You cannot stay where you are and go ith God. God is always active and on the move to fulfill His purposes.

Determination: Your decisions reflect your genuine desire. You will do what you will to do.

Doing: Everything else is just pretense if the action is not accomplished.

Discipline: The PRACTICE of exercising the first four steps over and over again.


HELPS TO MOVING CLOSER

BEGIN WITH SMALL STEPS

BEGIN WITH A PARTNER

Accountability

Encouragement

RECORD YOUR PROGRESS

Write down your commitments / goals

Track your behavior

Review your progress regularly

Share your progress with your partner

Footnotes:

Partnership is critical:

Peter would have been much less likely to

deny Christ if he had stayed with John, or

if John had stayed with him.

When we walk alone, we put ourselves at

much greater risk for personal compromise.

We tend to grade ourselves on our intentions,

rather than on what we have accomplished.


HOW WILL YOU MOVE CLOSER?

Practice more involvement with God’s family

Practice daily prayer

Practice daily Bible reading

Practice Scripture Memorization

Practice holiness and godliness

Practice living and loving like Jesus

Never quit _________________

James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

Footnotes:

Practice more involvement with God’s family

Worship regularly with others

Engage in a small group like Sunday School

Take advantage of Bible study opportunities

Find your place of service in the family of God for the common good

Start small

Be consistent

Be accountable

Set goals

Share the journey

Never quit Trying vs. Praying

Depend on God

Celebrate what God is doing in you.


GOD IS WORKING IN YOU

Philippians 2:12-13 So then, my beloved,

just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”.