How do you follow Jesus?
Last Sunday at the church I pastor, I preached a sermon about following Jesus. We are going through the gospel of Matthew on Sunday mornings; I was at Matthew 4:18-22. Jesus calls four fishermen to follow Him. They all do so immediately.
Together at Calvary, we considered what it means to follow Jesus in North America in 2015.
Here are some passages we looked at. Read them thoughtfully.
Jesus said to his disciples, “if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
“…if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 16:26)
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37)
“By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
“If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed.” (John 8:31)
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
“now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things that he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common…nor was their anyone among them who lacked, for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles feet, and they distributed to each one as they had need.” (Acts 4:32, 34)
Many of these are tough to swallow. We can explain them away, reasoning that Jesus didn’t really mean that for us. The truth of the matter is that they have to mean something!
Here’s some good questions to wrestle with, based on these passages.
1. Have I denied myself to follow Jesus?
Christianity was never meant to breed a culture of religious entertainment and convenience. To follow Jesus, means you give up everything. How does that look in your life? In mine?
2. Am I ready to die for Jesus?
Jim Elliot devoted his life to telling a tribe of Indians in Ecuador about Jesus. They had never heard that God loves them and that Jesus died on the cross for them. In his diary while he was a student at Wheaton College, he wrote this, “I am ready to die for the Aucas.” In his efforts to show them love and try to communicate with them, they murdered him along with four other missionaries. He was 28 years old when he died.
His famous quote: He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Where are the Jim Elliots today?
3. What is the master passion of your life?
I first heard that phrase “master passion” from Pastor Razz Vazquez of Calvary Chapel Miami. When you answer this question, it will tell you much about your walk with Jesus. He demands a supreme love. No affection in our life should be greater than the one we have for God.
4. Do you love the church?
Many are leaving the church today. Jesus loves the church. The church is His body. I pray the church would become all He wants it to be. How we need a fresh move of God upon the body of Christ in North America!
5. Do you abide in the bible?
Whether you read through it in one year, or longer, or shorter, a mark of the woman or man who follows Jesus is that you would abide in His Word. It’s the only way to be a healthy Christian.
6. What is your relationship with your possessions?
Do you have too many “things”?
I was once in a small group of people and posed the following question, “How many pairs of shoes do you have?” We went around the circle and answered (hopefully truthfully.) One lady said that she had over 100 pairs of shoes! Do we really need 100 pairs of shoes? Should we sell some of our possessions and give to the poor? Just a thought.
So, to follow Jesus?
If you are like me, when you go through these questions, you realize you come up short. But, thanks to the grace of God, and the Holy Spirit of God, we can live like this!
We ended our time on Sunday thinking about Galatians 2:20, one of my favourite verse.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.Paul, the apostle
We closed the service all standing and praying a prayer of consecration unto God – that He would help us follow Jesus.