Would You Choose You?
Sermon Summary

This message looks back at some of Jesus’ choices for disciples. It begins with a scenario. It's a what if scenario. What if Jesus had consulted with a management firm before making His final selection of disciples? The letter He might have received from the firm concerning His choices is rather humorous, and at the same time convicting. It points out some very negative things about most of the disciples except Judas. This highlights the differences between the world’s definition of success and God’s definition of success. From a worldly viewpoint, Jesus had made some pretty awful choices for disciples. But Jesus knew what He was doing. He was redefining success. You see, in the world's eyes, success is you plus your talents, your resources, your strengths, your connections, your abilities your savvy, and your drive! Jesus' choices would totally change that definition of success! True success is not you plus all of your amazingness, rather, true success is you plus Jesus and all of His amazingness! Jesus chooses us for at least three reasons: He looks beyond our faults and sees our potential! He looks beyond our present position and sees our place in His Kingdom! He wants us to be His partners in His rescue efforts!
 
Community Group Discussion Guide

1. If Jesus were asking for volunteers to help Him change the world, would you choose you? Why or why not!

2. Can you relate with any of the disciples and their personal issues? Thomas and his doubts, Peter and his denial, John and James with there temper, or Matthew with his checkered past? And they all struggled in the faith department. Read the following story and discuss how you can relate with the disciples.
Luke 8:22  One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out.
Luke 8:23  As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
Luke 8:24  The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.
Luke 8:25  "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."
 
3. Jesus looks beyond our faults and sees our potential and elevates our position to “friend of God” status! Discuss how this has impacted your life.
1 Cor 1:26  Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
1 Cor 1:27  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Cor 1:28  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are,
1 Cor 1:29  so that no one may boast before him.
1 Cor 1:30  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
1 Cor 1:31  Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

4. Jesus wants us to be His partners in His rescue efforts! Will you allow God to use your life to help someone else find hope in Christ?
2 Cor 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Cor 5:18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
2 Cor 5:19  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Cor 5:20  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Cor 5:21  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.



Full Sermon Notes
"The Savior of the world was fallen, His body on the cross. His blood poured out for us. The weight of every curse upon Him." Bethal Music.

Why? Why would Jesus choose to go through such torture? The reason is clear! He chose the way of the cross, because he chose to love you and me, and to make a way for us regardless of our past!

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I don't know about you, but that makes me feel pretty special! When I think of my past, my mistakes, my failures, and my daily struggles to be all God wants me to be. I'm just amazed God would choose to have anything to do with me at all! But that He chooses to love me and actually be a part of my daily life, well that is simply amazing. Sometimes, I wouldn't even choose me! But God sees our potential and He knows the amazing capacities and capabilities He put within each of us! God chose to love us before we were ever born. The question is…will we choose to accept that love, that choosing? Will you let Jesus redefine success in your life?  

Let's pray and ask The Holy Spirit of God to bring God's message to us loud and clear this morning!

"Father God, I thank You that You chose to create me in the first place. I thank You that You chose to love me even when I walked away from You! I thank You that You didn't give up on me and one night years ago, I finally chose to accept Your love for me! I pray that anyone here today who has never accepted Your choice to include them into the family of God, or anyone here who has never accepted Your choice to include them into the mission of God, I pray they will accept Your choice and begin living their new life in Christ! In Jesus Name!

Ok, I'm going to begin with something very different this morning. I heard this years ago, and don't know who came up with it. But I found it again at Bible.org
Here's what it is: It's a what if scenario.

What if Jesus had consulted with a management firm before making His final selection of disciples? Here's the letter He might have received from the firm…I read it.

To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafter’s Carpenter Shop
Nazareth 25922

From: Jordan Management Consultants

Dear Sir:
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant. The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully. As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation, and comes without any additional fee. It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking.

They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew had been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.
 
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.
Sincerely,
Jordan Management Consultants
 

Wow!! From a worldly viewpoint, Jesus had made some pretty awful choices for disciples. But Jesus knew what He was doing. He was redefining success. You see, in the world's eyes, success is you plus your talents, your resources, your strengths, your connections, your abilities your savvy, and your drive!

Jesus' choices would totally change that definition of success! Now I believe Jesus chose the disciples because of His love for them and because He had amazing plans for each of their lives! However, I also think Jesus chose them to prove a point. True success is not you plus all of your amazingness! True success is you plus Jesus and all of His amazingness!

In fact, let's look at Jesus' choices and redefine success. Let's start with Matthew. Andrew preached a message on him some months ago. He pointed out how illogical, from a worldly perspective, it seemed for Jesus to pick Matthew to be a disciple. Let's read our text for today and see why...

Matthew

Mark 2:13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.
14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Now I want to point out something to you. Jesus was being followed by a crowd of people, when he stops and asks a tax collector to follow Him. If He's going to pick someone like Matthew, at least He could wait until there's not a crowd around. Why do I say "someone like Matthew." Let me refresh your memory. It made no sense from a religious standpoint (invited criticism from established religious leaders)
They saw tax collectors as traitors who had sold out to the occupying Roman Govt.
They saw tax collectors as unclean, sinful people who cared nothing for the ritual laws of Judaism. It made no sense from a public relations standpoint (people despised tax collectors). Who loves to pay taxes? Tax collectors lived a higher standard of living off the backs of others. It made no sense from an organizational standpoint (most tax collectors of the day were thought to be dishonest)
The tax collectors would charge a higher amount than required by the Roman govt. and pocket the difference.

So Matthew was viewed as unclean, sinful, and dishonest. Ok, here's a sobering thought: If you were on Jesus' list to be a disciple, would any of these things show up on your background check? "Ok, Pastor Larry, let's just talk about Matthew! You're starting to meddle a little close to home!" I guess I could ask the question this way…Would you choose you? Your answer may be, "of course not, I know me. I've got to many issues! I've got baggage! I wouldn't be a good fit as a disciple.

So why did Jesus chose Matthew? Before we answer that let's look at another choice Jesus made...

Simon Peter

Mark 1:16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for
they were fishermen.
17  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
18  At once they left their nets and followed him.

Peter was a fisherman. Nothing wrong with being a fisherman. That's a nobel profession. I had catfish just two days ago. I like fishermen! But Jesus was trying to put together a team to change the world and very few fishermen in Jesus' day would have been wealthy. Although we do know Peter's partners, James and John. There dad was Zebedee and he had enough resources to have hired servants. But more than his lowly position in society, Peter had other issues. He was indeed a very spontaneous person, and that's putting it kindly. He was constantly putting his foot in his mouth. He would sometimes speak before thinking. My dad had a saying over his desk at the lab were he worked, that said, "Put your brain into gear before you put your mouth into motion!" I don't know that Peter had ever heard that saying! Not only that, he had a bit of an issue with colorful language.

This would come out at the same time his struggle with being faithful surfaced. Listen...

Mark 14:66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.
67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.”
70 Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
71 He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

Someone from the Jordan Management Consultant group would have had a field day with this. "See, we told you so! We told you Simon Peter was emotionally unstable! You should have listened to us!"
 
Now, what about you? If you were on Jesus' list of potential disciples, and you are, would you choose you? Would Jesus choose you? Are you like old Peter? Emotional instability? Fit's of rage? Curing and swearing? If Jesus knows everything about us, why in the world would He choose Peter in the first place? And if He knows everything about me, then I'm quite sure I won't make the final cut! Why would He even consider choosing me? Before we answer that question, let's look at another disciple.

Thomas

Thomas has garnered the nickname "Doubting Thomas!" He was full of questions. And when the other disciples told him they had seen Jesus, he wanted proof! Listen...

John 20:24 Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

To listen to some preachers you would think God doesn't like people who ask questions or have doubts and if you go by their teachings, Thomas would not have even come close to being on the 12 disciples list! You might be here today and you're thinking, "ok, you hit me with this one! I ask a lot of questions. I'm an educated person and more scientific in my methodology! I'm not much of a faith person. Show me the hard, cold, facts, and I'll make up my mind based on the evidence." Let me say two quick things about this.

First, not everything can be measured in a test tube or observed in a laboratory! Not everything is tangible, touchable, or seeable.
Second, God respects honest questioning. He gave us a brain and expects us to use it, and this will involve asking questions!

So your not off the hook. I used to wear a T-shirt that said, “Give Jesus a Chance!” That’s been my message for years. What have you got lose? Nothing to lose and everything to gain! Doubters are on Jesus' list of recruits!! But this begs the question...
If Jesus was trying to build a team to change the world with His philosophy of loving God, loving others, praying for enemies, turning the other cheek, and living by the motto "it's more blessed to give than to receive" why would He invite doubters?
 I know the questions are building up, but before we answer that question let's look at another famous pic of Jesus.  

John

Yes this is John, the beloved disciple. One of Jesus' closest associates. He was one of the three that formed the inner circle of Jesus. However, John would have been rejected by most hiring agencies because of his temper. Now most people would say, "Wait, John had a temper? Were are you getting that?" John and his brother James were nicknamed "Sons of Thunder!" John has been called the beloved disciple, but he was not always so loving. Here's an example...

Luke 9:51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;
53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.

54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?”
55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them,

And just a short time before Jesus' death, John and James had the audacity to ask for positions of honor in Jesus' kingdom. Jesus rebuked them for this. With this kind of history, why in the world would Jesus even consider John, let alone allow him to be one of the inner circle of leaders? Is there anybody in this place who can relate to these guys? Anybody here ever deal with anger, and have a hard time controlling your temper? Anybody in here ever spend time trying to achieve a place of honor. Now, there's nothing wrong with working hard and accomplishing things.

However, if it's just so you can receive honor, praise, and this world's applause, let me tell you a couple things about this. First, the world's applause is very intoxicating, but it is also short lived. And if you get hooked on it when it goes away, you'll be surprised what you would do to get it back! And many times when people are angry people, it's because they aren't getting the recognition they think they deserve. I may be touching some nerves. I guess where're back to that question again. Would you choose you? Would Jesus choose you? Why did He choose John?
Why did He choose any of the twelve? Why would He choose you? Why would He choose me? Okay, I'm going to tell you.

Reason #1
Jesus looks beyond our faults and sees our potential!

Others may only see our faults and issues, but Jesus knows what we can become if we let Him forgive us of our failures, and cleanse us of our filth. He sees our needs and wants to take care of those needs so we can live new lives. If only we will be teachable and obedient. When Jesus asked Matthew to follow Him, Matthew got and followed Him. Jesus called Matthew because He saw in Matthew a desire to know truth and a desire for meaning in life that goes beyond material wealth. Jesus is looking past your faults and towards your potential in Him!

It comes down to this: You have been chosen, you've been called to be a disciple of Jesus! Will you receive this honor? Will you respond to the call? If you are willing to live that new and amazing life God wants to give you, a truly successful life in God's eyes, you simply need to open your heart! The Psalmist gave us a wonderful example of a prayer we should pray as we accept the call to become a disciple of Christ...

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.


Reason #2
Jesus looks beyond our present position and sees our place in His Kingdom!

Matthew was a pawn for the Roman government. Peter, James and John were fishermen, struggling to make a living. Jesus was offering them an opportunity of a lifetime. If they chose to follow Him their positions would be forever elevated. Listen...

John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit —fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

Folks, Jesus made it possible for His disciples past and present to become the very friends of Almighty God! This goes beyond being friends with powerful people in this world. We're talking about friendship with The God of the Universe!! Success redefined for sure!!

Reason #3
Jesus wants us to be His partners in His rescue efforts!

Do you know what Jesus told His disciples after He rose from the grave and just before He ascended back to heaven? It's powerful...

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

And Jesus knew they could do what He was asking them to do. He had chosen them for a reason. It may not have made sense to the world, but it made sense! And these guys did what Jesus asked them to do! Matthew wrote a biography that would become part of God’s Word and would touch lives around the world. “The Gospel Of Matthew”
John would write the Gospel of John, three epistles and the book of Revelation! Peter would preach one of the most powerful sermons ever preached on the day of pentecost to the very people who crucified Jesus. The same Peter who denied Jesus three times. Listen to this excerpt from his message where over three thousand responded to his message and became followers of Jesus!

Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.

23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

And then down in verse 36...

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Jesus looks beyond our faults and sees our potential! Jesus looks beyond our present position and sees our place in His Kingdom! Jesus wants us to be His partners in His rescue efforts!

Jesus sees what you can be! Jesus already chose you! Will you accept His call on your life?
Will you choose you?

Let's pray!!