Basic 2: Follow Jesus-Francis Chan-April 25, 2012
What does it mean to you to be a Christian? What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? Being like Jesus should be our goal, and following Him is the path to get there.
Matt. 4:18-22-Come follow me…
It is easy to follow the leader, but is can also cost you everything. By imitating another person you are giving up your plans and/or desires for yourself. It all depends on who you are following. What do we do when the leader is Jesus? Is it easy to follow Him?
A Christian is a follower of Christ. However it seems in our culture that most of the things Jesus did were nice and we think they are good things, but most do not want to get too carried away with it. It is difficult to deny ourselves in this land of plenty, or love our enemies, sacrifice our comfort for someone else’s. Being a Christian is not a subculture, following Christ is countercultural. When we find someone following Christ, it seems that there are others who are trying to talk them out of it, or at least they want the person to tone it down a bit.
Think if you will about other professions. You learn by studying and theory, but the greatest learning comes in the applied part. This is usually done by watching and observing others do the same things and then under leadership or supervision the individual begins to learn the skill or trade. How many would want a doctor who had read the books but had no experience, or a pilot without experience, or mechanic. You get the idea. It is the best way to learn. This is also true in our Christian walk.
Matthew 28:19-20a. Would you say that following Jesus has been a consideration in how you have set up or oriented your life? Jesus tells them up front that to follow him will be costly. Luke 14:25-30 asks us to consider the cost. What does it mean to follow Jesus and what is the cost? Luke 6:46-It is the cost that actually narrows the road (Matthew 7:13-23) and helps us to understand that it is not because we call Him Lord, but if we follow Him in obedience. As the group narrows because following Jesus is hard, we find this account in John 6:66-69. Where or to whom will we go, you have the keys or words of eternal life? We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.
Some may think it would be easier if Jesus were here, but Jesus actually told his disciples it would be better for them when he left because then the Holy Spirit would come (John 16:7).
One of the greatest obstacles to following Jesus is ourselves. It takes a constant reminder that it’s about Jesus-I’m living for His calling, His mission, and His glory. Sometimes it may be that we worry what others may think about us. What or who may slow you down from following Jesus? Luke 9:57-58 says that Jesus has no place to call home, the cost can be great to follow but Christ is worth it.
What happens when trying harder doesn’t work? The answer may first be found in the question of have we fully surrendered to following Jesus, and to do so will require the help of the Holy Spirit.
Is it more difficult in our modern technology driven world to follow Jesus than it was when roads were no more than dust paths? Another invitation to follow was recorded in Mark 10:17-31 the rich young ruler was asked to leave power, pride, position, and wealth to call another man master. He walked away.
If it is so difficult then who can be saved? The short answer is with man it is impossible. It is not in reality just difficult, it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. In following Christ whose strength are we relying on? Following Jesus is more than a mental exercise or an obligation to church services, but it is lived our each day in our lives.
We get so caught up in the world as we see it, but Jesus invited them to see the world as it really is. Trying to hold on to our life we will lose it, but if we lose our life for Christ, then our lives will be saved.
With such an impossible task God sends blessings. One blessing is people. God placed people also on this journey to help us follow Jesus. You may not like everything about those people (or perhaps very little), but you are an essential resource for them, and they are an essential resource for you. Another blessing is the Holy Spirit. He works within to change our desires, and gives us strength to follow.
John 10:27-My Sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.