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Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:51-58
Following Jesus at a Distance
1. The night of Christ’s arrest was a night of extremes for Peter:
a. Declared unflinching allegiance, Matt. 26:33-35. But…
b. Slept in Gethsemane, Matt. 26:40-41.
c. Drew a sword of defense, Matt. 26:51-52 (Jno. 18:10-11).
d. Left Jesus and fled, Matt. 26:56.
e. Drawn back, Peter followed Jesus at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard, Matt. 26:57-58 (Jno. 18:15-18).
f. Denied Jesus three times, Matt. 26:69-75.
2. Do we follow Jesus at a distance? (Matt. 26:58; Lk. 22:54)
I. WE ARE TO FOLLOW JESUS, NOT GO BEFORE (AHEAD OF) HIM.
A. Because He is the Light of the World, Jno. 8:12.
-His moral clarity must be ours, Eph. 5:8-14.
B. Because He is the Good Shepherd, Jno. 10:27.
-His is the Overseer, who keeps us from going astray, 1 Pet. 2:25.
C. Because He is the Lord (Master), Jno. 12:26.
-Respect His authority in everything, Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17.
D. Examples of Going before Jesus:
1. False teaching goes before (ahead of) Jesus, 2 Jno. 9.
2. Human wisdom and will, cf. Matt. 26:51-54.
3. Extending His mercy/salvation when He does not:
a. “Adulterer may remarry,” Matt. 19:9.
b. Once saved, always saved, Gal. 5:4.
II. WHEN WE FOLLOW JESUS AT A DISTANCE…
A. We are Unprepared to Resist Sin and Error, Matt. 26:69-70.
1. It is about following the crowd, blending in and being inconspicuous, Matt. 26:69, 71.
2. We must be separate from sin and error, 2 Cor. 6:17-7:1.
3. Conviction, with clear eyes, Lk. 9:23.
B. We are Closer to the Enemy than to Christ, Jno. 18:17-18.
1. Friendship with the world is enmity with God, Jas. 4:4.
2. Don’t love the world, 1 Jno. 2:15-17.
C. We are Spectators rather than Participants, Matt. 26:58.
-A lot easier to join in criticizing and condemning others for what they are doing when you are on the sidelines instead of in the game (when you’re not in the arena, battling the devil, Eph. 6:10-13).
III. FOLLOWING JESUS AT A DISTANCE…
A. Tempts Us to Believe Moral Purity is not Distinctive, 1 Jno. 3:2-3.
1. The world distorts moral values. We must stay close to Jesus (His word) to avoid being deceived, Rom. 13:11-14.
2. Modest clothing, moral language, godly entertainment, etc.
B. Tempts Us to Believe Truth is not Absolute, Jno. 8:31-32.
1. Gray areas of truth (Rom. 14).
2. More easily swayed by calls to compromise with false teaching.
C. Tempts Us to Question the Authority of the Scriptures in All Things, cf. Matt. 22:34-35; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Tim. 1:13.
1. We must draw near to God, not distance ourselves from Him.
a. For His mercy and grace, Heb. 4:16.
b. To have (access) heaven’s continual favor, Heb. 10:19-22.
c. To sustain our fellowship with God Himself, Jas. 4:8.
2. How will we answer when someone says, “You are also one of those Christians?” (Matt. 26:73)
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: March 8, 2018