Saturday, July 7, 2018

Jesus the Test Maker | Week 2 | Jesus

Are we Believer or Follower?
Why Jesus looking for followers?
What can we learn from the history of Jesus tesing Simon Pieter?
Can we pass the testing of our faith as like Simon Pieter?
Can we pass the testing of showing our faith in public as like Mary Magdalene?
Can we pass the testing of laying things down as like Mathew?
Do we want to fail the testing of submission, trust and ability to follow as like the rich young ruler?
Why followers are tested by Jesus?
What kind of testing going on in our Life in this season? and How do we response?

Jesus the Test Maker

We believe that this is going to be a powerful series, because when you call something Jesus, it's got a lot to live up to, it's the name above all names what other name could you pick. 

This one is called Jesus, the test maker. We're gonna be looking in part to it Jesus, the test maker so thanks for being here it's gonna be fun. we're gonna talk about tests. 

Jesus is looking for someone

I just want to say "Jesus is looking for someone" before I really introduce myself, just show you know where we're all going.

I wanted to put this out there, right at the beginning of the message, because I don't know if you've ever flown. have you ever flown internationally? when you fly internationally, you can't take water or liquids on the flight. when you enter the airport basically they put the signs out there to say drink your drinks, put your stuff in bags, take it out of yours out of your luggage right now you cannot take liquids on the plane and then all the way through, every security check, in every signer you pass, in every stop that you hit, they reiterate this message just show you know where we're going.

So I wanted to put this up at the beginnings the same kind of thing this is where we're going. Jesus is looking for someone.

I don't want to bring this on you at the end of the event today, because I think that some of the people that Jesus is looking for in the next season of building his kingdom are right here listening/reading to this message.

If you're not prepared and if you're not aware that you're who I'm speaking to you today, then you're gonna be one of those people who gets in a security line and turns up in front of the guy with the terrifying presence in front of the scanners that make you feel guilty even they don't have any contraband on you. just feel terrified and you're gonna be the one down in your water really quick because you missed all the signs so let me just put the sign out there by the beginning Jesus is looking for someone.

Jesus's looking for someone today Jesus the test maker. so please don't count yourself out. I don't know if you know him already today, maybe you've been following him for a number of years, maybe this is your first time in church wherever you're watching/Reading this message, we want you to know that Jesus is still looking for people to build his kingdom. but I'm fascinated by the way that Jesus builds his kingdom, the way that he gathers people to him, the people that he draws. 

So I'm going to talk to you a lot today about people. The people in the Bible and what they were looking for. because we're all looking for something, we're all searching for something, even as Christians in this place today we're looking for something, we're trying to find something and you know we go on this search and search for Jesus's voice. 

I'm in a season at this point in my life, if you don't know me, my name is Rose. I'm married to Josh, he's one of the directional leadership team here in freedom church. About a year ago, we had this sort of quite surprising and quite unexpected call on our lives to move over to the States, and get involved in a ministry that's starting up over there, to go and support a friend of ours, and go and begin something new in a place in the States. We weren't anticipating that call. But at the time, we were campus pastors here in Hereford, and we were doing different things with the Academy and God called us to move and to change our focus and to go and connect in with something new. 

Right now we're in a wonderful zone called the waiting zone where things happen slowly and we answer questions vaguely. I don't if any of you guys can relate to being in the waiting zone. but if you ask me, so what's going on? and I say we're not quite sure, that's true we actually aren't quite sure. but we're just waiting, we're just waiting. but I feel like I can speak about in some way some of the tests Jesus throws to us as we follow him because they're all a part of following him. 

But in this season in my life, I've never been so hungry to hear Jesus's voice honestly .I've been looking for it, I've been searching for it, I've hunted it down in honesty far more earnestly in this season than when I was comfortably and securely in a regular and stable position or role or place in my life. I've looked for Jesus more in the last few months then I've probably looked for him in the last few years. 

That's why I know that this message today is going to speak to some people. Because I know some of you guys are waiting for something, maybe you're unsure about something, maybe there's a test that's going on in your life and you're looking for something, and it's a great feeling, when you find it. It's an amazing feeling.

I've discovered since being married that I have my own superpower which is a thing a thing of wonder to the family that I have. since I've been married and particularly recently I've noticed that whenever we go anywhere, whenever we get ready to leave the house and go places which we try to do from time to time so that our children can see other humans. it's daunting but we do it, because we're brave. I say to the family, right guys I've got our shoes on it's got a stuff together, we're gonna get in the car in about ten minutes, and one by one they come to me, and they draw on my superpower and it's quite amazing. My firstborn comes to me and says mum I need to take a dinosaur where's my dinosaur? then my second comes to me and so can I take a shark pencil? yes you can, where is it? okay and then my youngest comes and says I need a head flip, I need a head flip. She likes to look nice and then my husband comes and so have you seen my wallet? do you know my sunglasses are? so they stand in front of me waiting for my gift. 

I go into my zone and show my mind palace and I say, you... it's under your bed, you... it's in your pencil case, you... your hair clips on your head already, you.. I don't know where your wallet is, because you're the adult, look after your wallet, deal with a legend.

But this power is growing and it's amazing, it's something that began at marriage and has grown ever since I feel it growing with every child and then we leave house on time and obviously everybody has all this stuff and we're super organized. 

So it's amazing the feeling to find something. It's such a good feeling we're all looking for something all the time. what I'm always surprised by when I read the Bible is that Jesus is looking for something, Jesus is looking for someone

Sometimes we think the all-sufficient King, the Messiah, the Savior, he's not looking for anything but he's looking for someone and that's what I want to talk about today, I think he's looking for you, and the person sitting next to you, and the person who's gonna walk into this place next week that you're gonna bring with you. I think he's looking for some people to build his kingdom right now.

So we're gonna look and talk about searching and the tests that come when we search. But ultimately this is what Jesus is excited about, he's excited about turning people who had deniers or not aware of his presence, maybe some of you even watching/reading this message today, you don't know that Jesus is real. He wants to take you on a journey from being one that denies, one that doesn't know the truth of his life and his power to being a believer, that's the most phenomenal transition we can make in our lives is when we go from one who denied to one who believes, that's what Jesus came for. 

He came to make an eternal invitation to everyone who would hear him and allow us to become not just those who question, not just those who search and look trying to find fulfillment and everything, but those who believe, those who read his word, know his truth, sense his presence and walk in his ways those are believers. 

But I don't think that's the only thing that he's looking for. In fact Jesus has really burdened me as I've been preparing this message today to stir up the church a little bit. It's great to believe. our faith redeems us with the Jesus who gave all for us. 
But there's more than believing. I believe that today he wants to create some of followers, that's what he's looking for. Jesus is looking for followers. People who will lay down their lives, and do everything that he's called them to do. 

Jesus came to give this invitation to everyone, but I think what happened over time is a number of people stopped in the belief circle. that's why it's bigger actually than the follower circle. Because I think probably the Church of God today has more believers than followers actively going after his kingdom and seeking Him. 

I wanna talk today about the price of being a follower, the tests that come when you were follower, the fact that there's nothing to be discouraged about in those tests, they're a part of following Jesus and actually we see them all over the Bible in every disciples life that faithfully followed him.

So I want to just talk to you about today the difference between being a believer and a follower. 

There's something that when I read the Bible really surprises me about Jesus and his interaction with people. That is the fact that he gave an invitation to every person who would hear his message. He gathered crowds that were bigger than we can understand and he gave every individual the opportunity to follow him. But he drew some people closer than others.

In this season for me where I'm waiting and I'm uncertain about every next step that I need to take as an individual than with my family. As I'm leaning into his voice, I'm desiring more than ever to be really close to Jesus. I want a step not just in the crowd that followed him around but closer than that. 

Jesus allowed some people closer than that. He actually had these circles of people around him. He had these different levels of friendship and connection that he participated in with the people who were walking with him. 

Jesus had this whole crowd that went with him everywhere. then he had these twelve men who he invited even closer into his life. and then they had three of those men who he took with him on specific, certain, important journeys and moments in order to download something to them.

When I read that in the Bible, it does surprise me firstly. Because I think if you only had three years to get something done, would you take people everywhere you went? would you explain things to everyone again and again? would you want to repeat yourself? would you want to go over things that are actually fairly basic but they just need to hear one more time? it surprises me that he took people with him everywhere because he had such a huge job to do and yet he actually slowed down to go at their pace and do the job so that he could take them on the journey.

It surprises me, if you've ever read the Bible, and you've ever read about the 12 disciples, it'll probably surprise you too. Because some of their questions are shocking, but it's amazing that Jesus did that. But what also surprises me about this is that it somehow goes against part of the picture of Jesus that we are brought up to understand in the Christian faith. He loves everyone the same, everyone is equal, we all have an equal footing with him. At some points, Jesus would have walked to the disciples and said you... you... and you... come with me, the rest of you aren't invited

It surprises me, because somehow it's not the Jesus that we think of automatically we just think everyone can come, everyone's invited, everyone can be near to him

I just want to clarify, Jesus loves everyone. Jesus laid down his life for everyone. Jesus's invitation to come and no hope and future an eternity with him is open to everyone. but, what this makes me think is that some people draw closer than others based on the way that they walk with Jesus, the test maker.

So I want to talk about how we can walk with Jesus, the test maker and be those that don't just watch from a distance or filter around with the crowd, but those who draw right close to him and become one that he is speaking to engaging with and connected to you daily. 

Jeusus loves us all, but he's looking for someone, he's actively looking for some people right now to build his kingdom and so he allows us the opportunity to draw closer. 

But it's our choice, it's up to us. We don't have to. He's never going to push anybody into that circle and lock them there. He's also never gonna deny anybody entry. He's gonna give us the opportunity to draw closer and it's our choice.

I believe that it comes down to the way we respond to the tests he puts in our lives. It comes down to the way that we engage our faith when we're in a testing situation. 

Testing of Simon Pieter

I want to show you some examples, lets look at Luke 5, right at the beginning of the book of Luke, Jesus is beginning his ministry on earth, and he's starting to call people to him just like he still calls people today. He was looking for someone then and he was walking around this lake and he spotted some boats and he saw an opportunity to call someone to him. 

But I want to draw your attention to the way that these people responded, not just to the call but to the tests that came with the call because he tested them as he called them.

[Luke 5:1-4
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”]

It's very logical. I'll have your boat take me out to shore and more people can hear what I'm saying now. 

What we know from this little bit of Scripture is, it's the end of a busy night for Simon. He's washing his nets, his job is done. He's finished what he went out to do for the day. He's not just finished, he's packed down. 

When you're not just on your way up, but you're fully committed ,you've washed your nets, everything is clean and dry and done, and you're out, you're going home to bed, that's the stage that he finds Simon at.

Jesus finished speaking and then he said to Simon, put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch. One of the things we need to know about this command is that it's completely illogical. Every experienced fishermen just like me will tell you that these fishermen fished at night, because the water is still, there's nothing to freak the fish out, there's no sound, there's no disturbance, they go out through the night, they get their fish, and they go home in the day. 

But here's Jesus having spoken to multitudes of people who probably were all quite noisy, quite disruptive, and quite a pain for a fisherman. He's drawn all these people to him and then he says right go out in the sea and let's do some fishing. 

Simon knows that it doesn't work Jesus, that's not the way that this goes that's illogical, and I have more experience here than you. Carpentry versus fishermen, I know my stuff, this is the wrong way to do it.

But Simon's got a test in front of him. Will he trust what Jesus says even though it seems illogical? will he believe and will he listen to what it is that Jesus is calling him to even if it doesn't seem to make sense? 

Simon answered master we've worked hard all night and we haven't caught anything. So even though I hear what you're saying, let me just give you the context here, there aren't any fish right now, and you just scared them all away. So I've already tried this, but because you say so I will let down the nets now. 

I wonder if Simon had a kind of a little doubt in his mind or he was kind of thinking, let's see what happens here. you can preach but can you fish? let's just give this guy the test. May be he was far more submissive than that. when they had done so they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break so they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them and they came and they filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 

Jesus was testing something in Simon's heart by asking him to do something that didn't make sense. He was testing something that would ultimately allow Simon to draw even closer. His response was a response of faith.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus knees and he said go away from me Lord because I'm a sinful man for all for he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken and so were James and John the sons of Zebedee Simon's partners, and jesus said to Simon don't be afraid from now on your fish for people. so they pulled their boat on to shore they left everything they had and they followed him.

This was the first interaction that Simon ever had with Jesus and it was a test.

The first thing that Jesus did when he called his disciples is he tested them. Because Jesus doesn't just want believers who know what he said and trusted in their hearts, he wants followers who will do something physical, practical and bold in their demonstration of what they now believe.

There's always a physical at working of an inward shift that happens when we follow Jesus. The first thing that Jesus did with the first disciple that he treated him was test him.

We need to know that this faith tests us. We need to know that the tests that come are not to stop us, they're not to hurt us, they're not to punish us, they have great purpose. 

But Simon in this test had an amazing response. I just want to pull out five things that he did or that he that Jesus saw in him.

1. He was a hard worker

He was a hard worker. Lots of us make space for Jesus to come and invade our lives.,so we lay things down, and we stopped doing things, and we wait by the door to hear our call, we pack our bags just as soon as he comes for me I'm ready to go, and that's great. But he was working hard, he was actually involved in doing something, he was just a fisherman on the shore washing his nets he'd done a hard day's work. 

Jesus said that's the kind of person that I want, I want someone who's already working hard, he's already doing what they're called to do who's already got their hands on the job and getting things done. 

2. He listens

The next thing that he does is he listens. He sits in the boat as Jesus preaches. Before he's asked to do anything he starts to absorb the word. 

I just want to say to you if you are engaging in this series for the duration, I know that there are words that are going to come that are going to bring Jesus alive to you. But don't let it just be these Sunday messages that bring Jesus alive to you. 

Whether or not you're new in this church, whether you've been here for a long time, knowing Jesus for a long time, go and read one of the books of the Gospels Matthew Mark Luke and John, go and find some of Jesus for yourself and allow these words to build on what it is that he's already showing you. 

Simon already had some understanding or some experience of the power of Jesus words because he'd been listening. So he's asked to do something that's testing off the back of knowing the truth of Jesus's word listening to him. 

3. He obeyed

The next thing that Jesus loved I believe the third thing that Jesus loved about what he saw in Simon is that he obeyed. 

I don't think this is gonna work God, but because you say so I'll do it. There was an obedience that was unquestioning about what Simon did. 

4. He was Team Player

He worked with other people. We all have to cultivate the ability to work with other people because Jesus is looking for someone. But he's not looking for a superstar, he's looking for a team player who can come and get involved in what he's doing all around the world.

When we follow him, we follow him into a network of saints and heroes and people of the faith all over the world who were looking after their portion, stewarding their bit and we go and join them. 

We don't need to overtake them, We don't need to outshine them, We don't need to do something different. We need to go and join them.

Jesus is looking for team players. When he saw Simon's signal his partners over, I believe he saw a part of the potential that Simon would have to carry the church forward.

5. His humility

The last thing he saw his humility because after all of this, after seeing this miracle, Simon gets on his knees and says I'm not worthy of what it is that you're about to take me on. 

I believe Simon probably had an idea of where he was going, an idea of what he was about to get involved in. He said I'm not worthy of this, God I don't know if I can do this, is it me that you want? 

We have to have a humility about the way that we follow Jesus. 

But Jesus really does want followers and not just believers. 

This was just one test and it had so much fruit for the eternal church. 

so I just want to draw your attention to a couple of things. 

The first interaction that Jesus had with this man was a test. Who else gets tested? I'll just answer some questions for you, when we think about tests of our faith. 

Who gets tested?

the answer is everyone, every single person who Jesus is calling will face a test at some point. Don't let it discourage you, let it make you determined to pursue him through it. Because every person that I have ever met in their pursuit of Jesus has faced tests, tests of their faith, tests of their patience, tests of their mercy, tests of their joy. 

I believe that God is asking his church to become less fazed by the tests that he's taking us through. Because he's taking us through them for great purpose. Sometimes we freak out and feel like, perhaps we're getting it wrong, perhaps if things aren't going our way then we've made a mistake, we're not following him faithfully, maybe we'd heard him wrong. We worry and then we stop moving. 

Jesus wants a people, he's looking for someone who will walk through these tests just like Simon did with a boldness and obedience to his words. 

We need to stop getting worried, every time something doesn't go exactly as we thought it would.

Because honestly in this season for me, I had a plan down to days and months, we will go at this point, we will get on the plane, we can purchase this house, we can move to this area, we can start our jobs at this time, also I'll have a baby in this plan, the plan is gonna work. 

I was feeling comforted by that plan. Some of you in Hereford might know you prayed us out like six weeks ago and we're still here. So the plan isn't tracking as I imagined it to. if I let that freak me out, if I buried everything because oh it hasn't gone like I thought it would go. 

The vision over my life isn't what I thought it would be, the finances I have in my hand aren't what I thought they might be, the relationships that I have around me aren't what I imagined they could be. 

If we freaked out because of that and stopped moving, then we're not following Jesus into what he's taking us into.

1 Peter 4:12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

Christians, we can do that, I'm gonna follow Jesus, I'm gonna preach his word, I'm gonna reach people in my community, I'm gonna go and invite them for church. you know the first time it's somebody laughs at you or says no or just kind of plays down your invitation or never turns up, you can't let that stop. You we're fishers of men.

Don't let the test surprise you. The test is there for a purpose. 

Some more examples for test.

1. Leper:

I just shared an example of Simon but actually if you look through the Ministry of Jesus he constantly gives tests to people who follow him. 

Take up your mat and walk. That's not a belief test, that's a following test. 

Take up your mat and walk and then it will be well with you. As he straight after he speaks to Simon, he speaks to a leper. 

He healed the leper and then he says here's your test. Don't tell anyone what's happened, go to the priest, make an offering, and people will see that you're healed. 

2. Prostitute woman

There's a practical test that comes as people encounter Jesus. 

Go and sin no more. He says to a woman who is caught in a compromising position, he forgives her sins when he says go and sin no more. 

There's another woman that he encounters in the Bible and he says go from here and tell everyone what you've heard.

There are constant examples of tests in our lives, and what that means is if everybody who encountered Jesus in the Bible had a test, it means that everybody who encounters Jesus here and now has the test. 

We all have a test. I don't know whether it's a test of patience for you, I don't know whether it's a test of relationships right now for you, I don't know if something is testing your joy, something is testing the way that you're feeling, testing your emotions. 

I don't know what's testing you but what I can guarantee is following Jesus involves tests.

We see it right through the Bible and then we get surprised, when it comes to our turn and it doesn't go exactly how we planned it or in exactly the timeframe that we thought we would go. 

Jesus tests us. Jesus is the test maker not because he doesn't love us but because he has great purpose for us and we're in training for something more. 

He's looking for someone who won't just believe in His goodness, but who will know it, testify it from experience and share it with others with wait. 

Who passes the test? who progresses in their connection?

So let me just ask you another question if everybody gets tested, everybody who encounters Jesus, If we all get tested in some way, who passes the test? who progresses in their connection? 

I believe that everyone has the ability and the opportunity to be a believer in Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that he laid down his life for every single one of us and every single one of us can believe. But not all of us follow. Only some will pass the test.

I wanted to give you some examples of this I said we're gonna talk about people today so I'm gonna introduce you to a few different people from the Bible who Jesus encountered. 

1. Simon

We just read about Simon. Simon passed the test. He passed the faith test, he did what Jesus said, he was obedient to the practical things that Jesus asked of him.

2. Levi(Mathew)

Levi is another one of the disciples that Jesus called just a little bit later on in the Book of Luke. He's a tax collector, he's got a steady job, he's got a regular income and he's got security. 

But Jesus walks past his little booth. I don't know what that would have looked like, but I like to think of it just like he's sitting in the middle of the street in a little booth tapping at his taxes. 

Jesus walked past his booth and said leave all of that and come and follow me. Leave all of your wealth. leave all of your possessions, leave all of your security, leave all of the things that I've placed in your hands, leave everything actually that makes you feel like you're doing okay in this life and come with me I've got tense, it's gonna be great.

Levi doesn't just do it, he has throws a party with all of his other friends and he says come and meet this guy who's just called me to lay it all down. 

The test was passed by Levi. He did a great job and he laid down his finances. 

Some of us today are being called to lay things down that we cling to that we find security in, that we count our worth by even, we're being called to lay them down, there's a test in your life. 

But people have gone before you and they've passed that test and you can do it too. Because when you do you become a powerful follower of Jesus.

3. Sinful woman 

She walked into a room of people who hated her, she bought the most precious thing that she had that she owned, she broke this bottle of perfume over Jesus feet and she wiped her his feet with her hair as a demonstration and a measure of her love and commitment and ultimately gratitude for her salvation.

I think that's test enough to walk into a room of religious people who hate you and show your commitment and your devotion to your Savior in front of them, no matter what they might think of you, no matter what they might say of you. I think that's a test that some of us are facing right now in our locations around the world. 

Some of us are facing the test that we need to make our faith known. We need to make our faith public, and we need to let people say what they will say about us. 

If we get despised we get despised. If we get laughed out we get laughed out. 

She did that, but then Jesus gave for another test. It wasn't a practical test like some of them that I've talked about so far. 

It was actually a test in what she believed. He said that you're forgiven and go from here in peace. 

Some of us face the test of accepting and allowing God's grace and God's mercy to redefine us. 

She faced a test of identity. Are you gonna keep identifying with the sin that you were once engaged with, or are you gonna allow me to reform you and remould you and step into your new identity which is one who's forgiven and one who grows in peace. 

4. Rich young ruler

Rich young ruler who we read about another person who Jesus tested and the test was very open.

Master what can I do to follow you? you can follow all my my Commandments, you can love me above any other. 

I do those things that's what the rich young ruler said. I've done that since I was a boy, I already do that I'm a believer, I already follow what you said, I already know who you are, I believe in you. 

okay if you want the next level of the test it's this. Sell everything that you have, let go of your possessions and your wealth, leave the life that you're secure in and come and follow me

It said he went away sad, because he couldn't face that test, he couldn't do that. 

There's some that passed the test and some that don't.

It's our choice. Jesus puts us all on a level playing field here. We don't have advantage over others. We simply have a test of willingness. 

So some passed the tests and some don't but why? why does he test us like this? why do we face these challenges in our faith? Ultimately, he wants to test our hearts, he wants to test our willingness, because he's looking for someone to change the world

Results of Tests:

The rich young ruler, he was looking for submission and Trust and the ability to follow and he didn't find it.

I believe that that rich young ruler was probably someone in the world who heard Jesus's teaching, who was built and blessed by Jesus's teaching, but he wasn't right up here close to Jesus. He was way back here deciding which bits he would engage with and deciding which parts of him he would give.

The Sinful woman who's Mary Magdalene. She was a woman who stood at Jesus feet when he was being crucified. She followed him right through his ministry, she continued to be devoted to him, that boldness and that identity that he rewrote in her. 

She had to draw in every ounce of that because three days after he was crucified when the stone got rolled away and there was no one in the tomb, Mary Magdalene was there. she was standing there, waiting to see the body of her Savior that's what she thought she'd find, instead this angelic presence that we now know was Jesus himself came to her and said you need to go and tell everyone, you need to go and speak to everyone that you see and say, that there is no body in this tomb Jesus is risen. 

This job was given to this woman here because she passed the tests in her life. She was faithful, when she was tested. Jesus said, will you take my identity over everyone else's identity that they've spoken over you? will you know your forgiveness? will you go in peace? and 

Because she did that faithfully, she was able to be pretty bold as a woman in this culture to walk back to the crowds, and say guys the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, I've seen it with my own eyes, you all need to come and follow me. There is a boldness and an identity that needs to be rooted in Jesus for that to happen the tests are preparation.

Levi is actually Mathew. there's a lot of renaming in the Bible in case you're unfamiliar, Levi was the disciple called Matthew who wrote one of the most well known descriptions and and portrayals of Jesus's journey as he was here on this earth. 

Matthew was with him in so many different areas. Mary Magdalene traveled in this crowd Matthew was one of these twelve and the tests that he went through as one of those twelve were constant and unrelenting but he went through tests and he passed the majority of those tests. 

Because he was willing to lay everything down he got to travel with Jesus, see everything that Jesus did, be close to Jesus in some of the most miraculous moments that we know of, and walk with Him. 

There was a test that had to happen at the beginning to prepare him for his purpose.

Simon is Peter the disciple that we know of as Peter that we talk about a lot because we get to hear probably more about the tests of Peter than the tests of any other disciple in the Bible.

Because he was tested so much, he failed sometimes but he kept on being willing for the tests. 

He wasn't surprised at the fiery ordeal that would come as if somebody was after him he continued to pursue Jesus as Jesus built his faith as Jesus strengthened his understanding in his personal testimony of miracles that he experienced.

He ended up being one of these three, one of these people that Jesus called closest friend, one of the people that he relied upon in some of his most intimate and and powerful and private moments. 

Pieter was there because Peter kept on living up to and standing up to and taking the tests that kept on coming.

Sometimes we do fail those tests or sometimes we don't get it all right. Peter didn't always get it all right, and yet he's an example of somebody who the test makers strengthened to a point where he would take on the church and take it to the next generation. Jesus said of Peter, on this rock I build my church, you've continued, you've been unrelenting, you've been determined. 

This is the kind of person that I'm looking for. So don't be surprised by the test, be determined in the test and you get to walk with Jesus in the building of the kingdom of God.

Why does Jesus test us?

Jesus test us. it's not a punishment. It's preparation for your purpose. 

If you're going through a test right now and you're tempted to give up just know that there's purpose ahead of you, because you might be the woman who tells everybody in the future, you might be the man who builds something brand-new in the future. you don't know yet, you just got to walk through the test in front of you.

Whatever it is don't be surprised by it, Jesus is a test maker. I think sometimes we need to shift our perception Jesus just loves me, he just wants to bless me all the time and he just wants to give me all good things. Those things are true, Jesus wants to give you good things. 

I love the fact that in that first story that I shared with you in Luke 5, He's asking them to go fishing so that they'll be blessed, there's a blessing in that test, there's a great fruit that's gonna come out of that test. It's not just Jesus playing a game, Jesus wants to bless Simon Peter and the other fishermen on that boat by giving them the catch of their life. But first they have to engage their faith and they have to walk through the tests. and 

There's blessing for us too, there's blessing that he has for us. 

But I believe that God's just challenging his church that Jesus is just reminding his followers, guys tests are part the course here tests are what we walk through in part of preparation for what it is we're going towards.

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We need to carry that Scripture as a promise, and as a a fact that we can continue to stand on. These tests are building something in me for where I'm going, for what I'm heading towards and I need every single bit of it. 

So this is what I wanted to leave you with, this is what I ultimately want to say to you today. if you're facing tests of many kinds in your faith, maybe the test is that you don't know what you're supposed to be doing, maybe the test is you don't know where you're supposed to be going, maybe you know exactly what Jesus is asking of you in this season but it's a hard thing to give or it's a hard thing to let go of, maybe some of you don't know what the test is. But you need to go back and listen to smash the idols series, because I'm sure you'll find one in there they were loads. 

The test is not a mark of disobedience, It's the making of disciple

The test is not a mark of disobedience, you know sometimes we think I'm getting it wrong, or I'm pursuing the wrong course. The test is the making of a disciple.

Don't be discouraged by it. Be determined in it. Don't feel like it's a punishment, it's a preparation.

Jesus loved Pieter so much and he continued to test him to prepare him for where he was gonna go when Jesus had gone back to heaven, Pieter was gonna need some strength to rely on he was gonna need some unfailing faith to build on. So Jesus tested it and grew it and developed it and multiplied it all of this time.

Test is not your opposition, it is your opportunity

Jesus is looking for someone. I believe Jesus is looking for someone even here in this room but I believe that some of us have allowed our tests to overwhelm us or to stop us in our tracks and I just want to remind us this morning or this afternoon or wherever you're watching/reading this, I want to remind us that we should not be overcome by the tests that are in our life, we should be encouraged because it's not just it's not your opposition it's your opportunity to pursue Jesus to something more.

Please keep believing in this season that Jesus has more for you. As you face the tests that you're looking at right now, he wants you to progress forward into what he has. 

we're gonna just have a couple of minutes where we worship God but we reflect personally on the tests that he's placed in front of us. Where are their tests that you have stopped in? where are their tests that feel too big for you? where are their things that you know God is asking you to face up to and to change and you've put off because you're content in the believer zone rather than the follower zone? 

Because I've got to say that in this generation and this season that we're in right now, our news is full of heartbreak, our world is full of need. Jesus is looking for someone who will go forth into all the world, make disciples bring this news, bring this gospel and it's not gonna be believers who do it, it's gonna be followers who do it. 

So where are you being limited by the test? where are you stopping in your tracks? what is God asking of you? where is he asking you to get pick up your mat and walk to believe in the new identity that he's given you to leave everything and follow him? where is he asking those things of you? 

We need to be a church who were willing not just to believe but to follow him to everything that he has for us.

We need to know that he has a great plan and purpose for us and he's preparing us. 

I just wanted to say this all that time when Simon is partaking in the tests, all that time when he's throwing his nets out again and and trying to fish again Jesus is right there in the boat with him, he's not far away, he's not on the shore, he's not left him to it, he's right with him.

Your test today, Jesus is right in the boat with you, he couldn't be closer, he's cheering you on.

I would love each of us to consider the areas in our life where Jesus the tests maker is being shut down shut out and denied in our life because we're not comfortable or we're not confident to pass the tests that he's placing in front of us. 

Father God I thank you so much that you love us enough to test us and to bring us towards a greater future in you. God I thank you that the tests that come in our lives bring faith, I thank you that they bring hope to others Lord that they bring purpose into your kingdom. and As you're looking for someone Lord, we want to be those who will follow wholeheartedly. God I pray even now as we sing that you would start to speak to hearts start to convict individuals and start to show us of the areas where we're content to believe rather than follow God show us the things that we need to do so walk-in closeness and connection with, you in Jesus name. Amen

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