Sight to Follow
Sermon Summary
This message answers the question of how disciples of Jesus can still follow Him some two thousand years after He ascended back to heaven. Jesus’ first disciples wondered how they would follow Him once He left them and Jesus knew the questions swirling around in their minds. He reassured them with a beautiful message to them found in John’s Gospel, chapter 14. In verses 15-31, Jesus tells them to follow His commands and He lets them know His Holy Spirit would come to live in their hearts and would help them to know exactly what to do. So having the sight to follow Jesus today is the same as it was in the days of the disciples. We must know and follow God’s Word and we must allow His Spirit to fill us and guide us. If we do these things on a daily basis we will have 20/20 sight to follow!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. When your trying to fix something or make something and you look up the instructions on the internet, do you prefer to read the instructions or watch a video with someone illustrating and talking you through it? Explain your answer.

2. We don’t have the luxury of watching actual videos of Jesus teaching or doing some of the things He did while on this earth. However, we do have access to His written instructions in the Bible and we have something that is available with the Bible that is unique to the Bible. Actually, that something is really Someone; The Holy Spirit of God! Can you share a time when you were reading the Bible and The Holy Spirit helped you understand something or revealed something you would have otherwise missed?
1 Cor 2:9  However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--
1 Cor 2:10  but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

3. Jesus, The Son of God, was God in the flesh, yet He talked about His dependance on The Father while living here on the earth. He consulted with The Father in prayer, quoted God’s Word often and took great comfort in the fact The Father lived in Him. Discuss how each of these things serve as an example to us when it comes to our relationship with God.
Eph 3:16  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Eph 3:17  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Eph 3:18  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
Eph 3:19  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Eph 3:20  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Eph 3:21  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

4. The disciples actually saw Jesus with their physical eyes and heard Him speak with their physical ears. Our sight to follow comes from God’s Word and His Spirit. Even the Psalmist David in The Old Testament understood the need for God’s Word and His Spirit. Read Psalm 143 and discuss some of the “sight to follow” insights found in these verses.  
Psa. 143:1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

(Leader's helpful hints from sermon notes)

We have sight to follow when we pray!
We have sight to follow when we cry for mercy!
We have sight to follow because of His faithfulness and righteousness!
We have sight to follow because Jesus took our judgement!
We have sight to follow when we remember Jesus defeated our enemies, like addictions, depression, bad habits, bitterness, worry, you fill in the blank!
We have sight to follow when we remember the life of Christ and how He lived.
We have sight to follow when we meditate on God's great handiworks!
We have sight to follow when we spread out our hands heavenward and thirst to see!
We have sight to follow when we realize God never hides His face from us!
We have sight to follow when we wake up in the morning and remember His unfailing love and put our trust in that unfailing love!
We have sight to follow when we lift our soul to Him asking Him to show us the way we should go!
We have sight to follow when we hide ourselves in Him!

 
Full Sermon Notes
Site to Follow

Beginning Prayer
Father our hearts belong to you! Our lives belong to you! We've heard Your call to follow and we simply say today…
"Teach us to follow You. Teach us to hear You. Teach us to see You. We need the spiritual sight to follow! If we don't have that we will stumble in the darkness and will surely lose our way. Father God like the disciples, we desire to see You! Hide me behind the Cross of Christ as I bring your message this morning. Anoint both the speaking and the hearing. We come with expectation to hear from Your Holy Spirit this morning!! Thank You in advance for all You will do in our hearts, minds and lives. In Jesus name I pray and believe. Amen!!

Today's message can be applied to our lives because we've answered the call of Jesus to follow Him and because we've given Him our hearts. And the heart of today's message is one of the most elementary messages of the Christian faith, while at the same time, one of the deepest and most mysterious! We learned last week that it's not wrong to ask questions or even admit our doubts. With that in mind, a modern day disciple, a follower of Christ, might rightly ask the following question; The first disciples had sight to follow Jesus because they could literally hear Him and see Him, but how are we to follow now that He has ascended back to Heaven? How do we hear Him? How do we see Him? Interestingly enough, this question was on the first disciples minds as well.

Once Jesus was gone from this earth, they did not understand how they were to function. How were they to know what to do, how to do, where to go, or how to get where they were supposed to go? Remember Thomas's question from last week?

John 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Remember Jesus' answer?

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

You might remember from your personal reading of God's Word that Philip had a follow up question to Thomas' question...

John 14:8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered the question with, not one, but three questions…

John 14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus was a little disappointed the disciples had not yet understood that He was God in the flesh. That He had come to show them The Father. But He wasn't mad at them! He took their questions seriously and told them some rather astounding things in response.
In fact, His answer will inform our message today and next week as well! Jesus made three very important assertions in these verses we've just read.

If you've seen Jesus you've seen
The Father!

Everything Jesus said or did was at the directive of The Father who lived in Him!

Followers of Jesus will do what He did and even more!

That last statement brings back the question. How can we do what Jesus did and even greater things when He's back in heaven with The Father and we're down here? Again, same question that was on the disciples mind. "How can we have sight to follow when You're in heaven and not here?"

Now, before I read the verses with the answer, I want you to realize something. Jesus had faced a similar problem. Remember, when Jesus prayed, He prayed to His Father who was in Heaven. Jesus would routinely get away and pray to The Father! What was His secret? He had just revealed it to His disciples. Let's read it again...

John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

In other words, yes God The Father was in Heaven, but God The Spirit lived in God The Son, and that's how Jesus lived His amazing life! The great mystery of The Holy Trinity, God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit!
Listen to His words in John 12:49

John 12:49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.
50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Ok, so if you've seen Jesus you've seen The Father. Everything Jesus said or did was at the directive of The Father who lived in Him and He in Him. Followers of Jesus are supposed to do the same and even greater things than Jesus. Wow!
I don't know about you but that raises not a few questions in my mind. The main one being, how on earth am I supposed to live a life like that? And a related question; How could I possibly have the sight to follow Jesus and do what He did if He's not physically here for me to follow? The next few verses give us Jesus' answer to our question. How can I have sight to follow Jesus today? Two things…
Word and Spirit!

Let's read Jesus' words in John 14:15-31...
15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,
31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.

Do you know what Jesus just told them? He told them, "Hey guys, just obey my commands. Do what I've told you and what I've shown you!" Then it's like He anticipated another question but didn't give them time to ask; "What if we forget?" Jesus told them they would have His very Spirit within them and The Holy Spirit would help them remember! Let me point something out to you…Jesus had just told them He was going away to prepare a place for them in Heaven so where He was they could be also, someday! In the meantime, while Jesus would not be with them physically, He would be with them by way of His Holy Spirit and would live in a room prepared by them! What room was that? Their hearts! Let me ask you a question; Have you prepared your heart to be a residence for the Holy Spirit? If you want to answer Jesus' call to follow Him, you must be willing to turn from your sins and ask Him into your heart. You must then be willing to let His Holy Spirit teach you the commands of Jesus, the principles of Jesus, the ways of Jesus, the will of Jesus! In fact did you know God's kingdom is all about that room in your heart? Jesus put it this way to the religious leaders of His day...

20 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation,
21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

We're going to begin a new series week after next on the parables of Jesus. Many of those parables are called "Kingdom Parables" because they are about the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is were God rules. If we are to follow Jesus, we must follow by allowing God to rule. Jesus submitted to The Father's Will, and the only way to have the sight to follow Jesus is to do the same by allowing God to rule our hearts and our lives. How do we do that? Word and Spirit! We study God's Word and then ask God's Holy Spirit to teach us what it means and to help us know how to apply the Word to our lives. We ask God's Holy Spirit, His very presence in our hearts and lives, to help us remember the principles of His Word and to help us remember how Jesus applied them.

We then ask for God's strength and wisdom to do the same. Now I know I'm talking about New Testament concepts here, but those concepts had their birth in the Old Testament and it may surprise you just how similar some of the teachings of the old and new really are. The Psalmist, King David understood how important the Word and Spirit are if a person is to follow God and fulfill His will! Listen to his words...

Psa. 143:1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

Sight to Follow Insights
We have sight to follow when we pray!
We have sight to follow when we cry for mercy!
We have sight to follow because of His faithfulness and righteousness!
We have sight to follow because Jesus took our judgement!
We have sight to follow when we remember Jesus defeated our enemies, like addictions, depression, bad habits, bitterness, worry, you fill in the blank!
We have sight to follow when we remember the life of Christ and how He lived.
We have sight to follow when we meditate on God's great handiworks!
We have sight to follow when we spread out our hands heavenward and thirst to see!
We have sight to follow when we realize God never hides His face from us!
We have sight to follow when we wake up in the morning and remember His unfailing love and put our trust in that unfailing love!
We have sight to follow when we lift our soul to Him asking Him to show us the way we should go!
We have sight to follow when we hide ourselves in Him!
We have sight to follow when we pray these words….

Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

We have sight to follow when we pray the words of the Psalmist...

Psa 143:11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are His servant, and let me tell you about the privileged position of a servant of God! Servants of God have been given the very Word of God which contains the most powerful spiritual truth in the universe and servants of God have been given the very Spirit of God who is the most powerful Spirit in all of the Universe. So God's Word and God's Spirit give us 20/20 sight to follow Jesus, The very Son of God! Question is, will we read His Word and be led by His Spirit?

Let's pray!