FOLLOW MEJUDAH SMITH
I’m from sunny Seattle (I was tricked into pastoring it). I’ve been married for 13 years to Chelsea. Our moms
were best friends and said let’s have a boy and a girl and get them married.
We’re so glad to be here, your faith is talked about around the world.
It is so important to give Pastor Rick and Pastor Kay a time to breathe. It is so holy, so sacred so necessary.
We love your church and your pastor. The grass doesn’t get any greener than it does right here. You just
walked in to one of the great churches of the world. Jump in, get involved.
Matthew 9:9. I chose this particular passage because seven times Jesus calls an individual using the words,
Follow Me. This is one of those times. He calls Matthew. Two of the best words put together. That is possi-
bly the most extravagant, extraordinary invitation in human history, inviting humanity to follow Him. We
have to wrap our brains about the implications of that invitation here on a sunny Saturday evening.
I’m a 7th generation preacher that means my family has an extraordinary amount of issues (laugh). I’m
trying to make it easy on you. Revelation 1:8, 11, 17. You’ll find some redundancy here.
[he reads the verses]
Isn’t that beautiful? Jump to verse 11.
In conclusion, verse 17, the same statement is made by Jesus. Isn’t that interesting. His firstness and last-
ness should affect our emotional disposition. the fact that he is first and last should give you emotional
stability. It should drive out the fear in your life.
The words follow me is an invitation given 7 times to 7 individuals, and it’s the same invitation given to you
and me. We can choose to follow Jesus. The implication is that God is FIRST. The someone you follow is
first. I want us to understand the practical implications of God’s firstness.
Will you pray with me? Thank you for this beautiful book, by the power of the Holy Spirit, let us see the beau-
ty, majesty and glory of Jesus.
Example: I hate to lose. I believe in winning and being first. He tells the story of his 4 year old son playing
One of the reasons I love God is God always win. I must admit (applause), I like that about God. There is
nothing second about our God. In the passage in Revelation, there are three different verses in the same
section repeatedly, I am first. Redundant on purpose. We don’t have to go far. Right from the beginning of
the biblical narrative we are confronted with God’s firstness. Gen. 1.1. I have it memorized the first portion
that’s why I’m a preacher. “In the beginning GOD.” Let’s stop right there, In the beginning GOD. Does
anyone have a problem with that? Can I get a little bit of context. Which beginning? How did he get there.
How’s that for an opening line to the greatest book ever written. How’s that for an assumption. The assump-
tion is that you believe in God because why wouldn’t you? Look around. In the beginning God.
It’s a mystery is it not? Gen. 1.1 implies God was before the beginning. In the beginning God. He was
before the beginning. It gets worse. It implies He began the beginning. You know you’re first when you’re
beginning the beginning. God is preeminent. The first phrase of our holy book divine narrative starts with
an assumption that you understand the before the beginning began God was. God was, God is and God
always will be. It’s about the God who was there before there was a book and the beginning and a you and a
me. The book is about him and for him. He is the source.
Before the beginning began God was. It’s about a God who was there before the beginning, before there
was a you. He is preeminent and predominant. He is the source of all life as we know it. It is about God. God
is always first.
This of course leads Jesus to offer the ultimate invitation to follow me.....(pause) for I am first. The safest
place for a human being ever is to behind God. To be following God. Now most of the time we take this
invitation “follow me” and we think it’s sacrifice and we must live this crazy wild life. This may be true but
I see the invitation to “follow me” beautiful, inviting, restful, safe, protecting, providing, place. The safest
place to be on this planet is following Jesus. Second to Jesus. He’s first He is always first.
The Bible teaches he was born first
He died first
He rose first
not in timing but in position
Colossians 1:15-18 NKJV read outloud
In all things God is first.( another translations says it even better)
When Jesus says “follow me” he is saying yield to my firstness. Let me go before you. Let me lead you. Let
me be first. Oh God is first and nothing can change his firstness but it is imperative that you and yield and
allow his firstness to have impact in our life and ultimately lead to salvation and transformation in our life.
There are two points lodged there in this beautiful invitation “follow me.” I only have 2 points (this preach-
er only has 2 points I love him already).
1. If God is first, God is MORE.
If we were in a footrace. I’ll beat you in a footrace. I would pass the finish line before you, it would means
you have more athletic ability, more speed, more fastness. You’re more.
When Jesus says follow me, he is also implying I am more. He implies I am more when He says follow me.
Why is this imperative?
No matter what we’re facing, challenges we are enduring presently, God is first, therefore God is More. I be-
lieve this sense of God’s firstness and moreness is a big deal to God, He gave quite a demonstration when
the church began. Our heritage and legacy is recorded in Acts 2. The beginnings of what now we are a part
of, now is 2 billion people following Jesus. We’re a part of this small group of people gathered during the
Jewish Festival. 120 people in the Upper Room. Acts 2:1-4 Jews celebrating Pentecost otherwise known as
the First Fruits festival.
God doesn’t do anything on accident, always on purpose.
Jews would gather for the celebration of first fruits, first buds, It was a very sacred and holy celebration.
120 average people gathered. All of a sudden, something very chaotic begins to unfold. They are there
thinking about God. Praying. All of a sudden, the Bible uses the word suddenly. Suddenly there came like
a sound like a mighty rushing wind. It’s not poetic, it’s bizarre. It’s weird. Imagine you were in an enclosed
space and all of a sudden a wind howls through the room. Hairpieces flying off. It’s just crazy.
Then to top it all off, a sound like a mighty rushing wind, this crazy wild sound whether or not they could
feel the effects of it is debatable.
There’s a sound and a sight and both are very bombastic, overt, undeniable.
The sight is balls of fire dangling over people’s heads. What are we talking about?!!!! This is weird. A think-
ing person like you and me, ask ourselves, why the sound and the sight? Why the crazy wind sound? And
why the balls of fire hanging over people’s heads? Is there a purpose? Are we to get together and pray for
the wind sound? Pray for balls of fire?
This is not the point.
Could it be it’s the first meeting of the church in the festival of first fruits, the first church in the festival of
first fruit and God came as sound and a sight to demonstrate He is first. He is more than a meeting, a pro-
gram, more than the challenges, complexities and difficulties this life has to offer.
He is God. The church you and I are part of started with a sound of wind and balls of fire.
It is very apparent to me God wants it to be known that He is real, powerful, present and he is more than
what you’re facing and going through.
Those people in the upper room had no idea they would be part of a global movement that would spread
to millions. How is that possible?!
God is more than a meeting, more than a mantra. He is the first and the last, the Alpha the Omega, Al-
mighty and the all powerful.
What are you facing, going through, what are he challenges of your life right now?
Can I make an audacious statement?
God is more.
What sickness are you battling.? God is more than enough.
What loss are you grieving? God is more.
Example: My Dad was diagnosed with cancer while I was a youth pastor (12 years as a youth pastor for his
father). I like working with young people because they are fun. Other people are not so nice and compli-
cated. Dad would pass away after a year. In 6 months I was standing in front of a church of thousands of
people and I was supposed to be their pastor. I exhausted all my good sermons and was going to have an
open microphone Sunday. That’s all I got. Have you ever felt you’re in over your head, felt like you don’t
have what it takes? Buried by a circumstance, problem, pain, or difficulty?
I have good news for you. Jesus says follow me. I am more.
Dad passed away, he was my best friend, hero. I still would go to text him, and I’d forget, it’s a knee jerk reac-
tion. The plan was he would be there to teach me how to do it. I’m left here trying to figure it out with these
smart people in Seattle saying “who is this poor child and what is he talking about?”
The Holy Spirit nudged me.
In Him all the promises of God are yes and amen. Jesus is the fulfiller and fulfillment of all God’s
promises for He is their Sum and Substance. I don’t have my dad but I still have Jesus and He is MORE
What are you going through? This isn’t just good preaching, (pretty good) this is Bible, this is the truth. He
is more. If you’ll just follow Him. You are no match for sin (for those who deny this, I can just punch your
mom and there is sin). Sin is real. There’s right and wrong, evil. You cannot overcome sin and all the ramifi-
cations of sin that just wreak havoc on this painful planet. You are no match for sin and neither am I.
The Bible says in Romans 5:20, where sin abounds, grace does much MORE abound. God is much more.
God can conquer the power of sin , depression in your life, God is more, He is the sum and substance, He
is the fulfillment and fulfiller, He is your sustenance and source, strength, He is your life, He is more than
Eph 3:20, He’s so amazing that He is more than knowledge, He passes knowledge.
When I die, I don’t want to be that guy who gets to heaven, and go “Are you serious!” “Come on” “No,
really” you’re this big, you’re this awesome! I’m down here worried about $373 to the electrical company.
Really? I spent 15 years of my life totally obsessed with this problem and you were this awesome??? Could
you have told me just a little bit? Heaven is so amazing, windows are glass so you can see to the true trea-
sure which is Jesus. His beauty is so opulent, so majestic that He renders gold like pavement in eternity. I
don’t want to get to heaven and say no way! I could have been okay when I was fired. There’s actually life
after divorce in light of you. Really you’re this beautiful, you’re this much, you’re so much more than I can
ever imagine. I want to live my life in light of his moreness. God is enough. Don’t leave here and let the
themes of your mind or your heart be your circumstance or your situation. This too shall pass. Let’s fix our
eyes on the first and the last, the alpha, the omega. (applause)
In conclusion, (beautiful words in the ears of listeners. 65% re-engages at the mention of that word), so in
conclusion, conclusion, conclusion. Jesus is first therefore he is more.
2. He is before
Not only he is more, he is also before.
In our silly metaphor for foot racing you beat me, it means you got where we were getting to before. When
Jesus invites us to follow him, He says, let me go before - Jesus’ invitation. So I can make provision, prepa-
ration, so I can do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Jesus is before you. Y’all know
God is never surprised. He is sovereign. To be sovereign and surprised can never connect, because he al-
ways knows the beginning to the end, the end to the beginning.
Jesus in Mark 14....says something rather offensive to Peter. This illustrates my point. In Mark 14 Jesus ex-
plains to his disciples all of you will be made to stumble. Mark 14:27-31. Peter says even if all will stumble I
will not. This is the part that gets frustrating becuase Jesus says you want to bet, absolutely you will. In fact,
this night in a few hours, before the rooster crows twice you will deny me thrice. I want to say please don’t
add insult to injury let him do it!
Sure enough he does it.
Sure enough in a few hours he is denying Jesus to a jr high girl at a bonfire.
I used to think that’s mean, you know, just let him do it.
Jesus comes back from the dead as he promised.
Mark 16:7 notice what Jesus says, now go tell His disciples – and Peter – you know why he said that? You
know He was purposely, descriptively telling Peter. He wanted to tell Peter I’m before you. Don’t worry. I
now what you are going to do. I still love you, I still choose you, I’m still with you and I’m still for you.
Some people don’t come to church for what they’ve done. They think performance dictates God’s emotional
disposition towards them. This is ludicrous, ridiculous and it ignores the fact that God is sovereign. God
knows you tonight, today. God knows you this weekend and he knows what you’re doing next weekend
even though he knows but He loves you this weekend even though He knows what you’re going to do next
This proves He loves you today and he loves you tomorrow. He is before. Love doesn’t change. It’s tough to
keep moving in life.....have you been there? But knowing He is before you, you can keep making progress.
Example: The Holy Spirit nudged me and said you’re going to have 3rd child, name her Grace. Whatever
happens to your dad, you will know my grace is sufficient for you.
When I am holding my daughter it’s a manifestation of God’s Sovereignty and grace, God YOU KNOW,
you already have given everything I’ll ever need to be who I’ve been called to be.
You can get through whatever you’re going through, because you know your God is more and before. I
don’t know about you but I’m going to follow Jesus.
Prayer and invitation for salvation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, here’s my life. It’s yours. I’m going to follow you. I love you because you first loved me,
Thank you Jesus. Amen.
God bless you church.