Faithlife Sermons

Fan or Follower, Part 6

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What does it mean to ‘Follow Jesus’?

I encourage you to take a moment to think about that question. In church, we sometimes talk about following Jesus, but what does that mean?
Specifically, we spent time looking at Luke 9:23.
Luke 9:23 NIVThen he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
These are requirements. Jesus said if we want to be His disciples we must do these things. We must

Learn from Him

This is the same call Jesus gives to us. We read in Matthew 11:28-29:
Matthew 11:28–29 NIV“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Following Jesus means to learn from Him. How will you learn from Jesus? Make a plan, and put it into action. How will you read? How will you memorize and meditate? How will you pray?The second part of following Jesus that I see is:

Love and Worship Him

As the disciples spent time learning from Jesus, they truly fell in love with Him. They loved what He did, what He taught, and finally recognized who He is! When they did, they worshipped Him!The context we were studying in John was the feeding of the 5000, and then the storm in the night when Jesus came walking on the water. Matthew records some details that John did not. Look at them with me.
Matthew 14:22–32 NIV
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Now, pay attention to the next verse:
Matthew 14:33 NIV
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
As we learn from Jesus and see Him for who He is, it should lead us to worship Him!We do need to worship Jesus throughout the week, not just on Sundays. We should be worshiping Him with all our lives according to Romans 12:1.
Romans 12:1 NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Giving Him our lives and living for Him is our spiritual worship! However, I believe we should also be worshiping Him with our lips, hearts and minds! We need to be using Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in our lives regularly!
I believe Jesus was teaching us how to worship in Matthew 6. He speaks of praying to our Father in Heaven. How does that prayer begin? "Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be your name!!” That is worship!
After Jesus spoke of prayer in Matthew 6, He spoke of fasting. We do not speak about, nor do I use fasting, yet the scriptures speak of it? Why don’t I? Fasting is a way to grow in our love and worship is to fast. Taking time to focus on Jesus instead of myself gets me away from self worship, which comes too easily. Again, fasting is a tool in our arsenal to grow in our love and worship of Jesus as we spend time focusing on Him! Let’s use every tool available to grow in our worship!
Then, after fasting in Matthew 6, Jesus speaks of worshiping with our treasures. I think we can rightly put money there for treasure. How am I using my money? Where we spend our money shows where our heart is, doesn’t it? Am I using my money as a means of setting Him apart as Lord, and following Him? Is my heart worshiping Him, or is it set on things of this world? Let’s use our money to worship Him!This week, make a plan. How will you grow you love for and worship of Jesus? Only as we love and worship will we be true followers.

Love the body

Jesus spent a lot of time teaching His disciples. At the very end, the night before He was betrayed, He gave His last instructions. If you have one last opportunity to speak to a loved one before you died, would you share what is most important, or just pick any old topic? I think we would share what is one of the most important. Let’s look at what Jesus shared. Turn to John 13.
John 13:12–17 NIV
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
As Jesus continues His instructions He says this:
John 13:34 NIV
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
If we want to follow Jesus, we need to love and serve His body. We need to love and serve other believers in the body of Christ. There are too many today who think that they can be followers of Jesus without being a real part of a church. I do not see that in the Bible. Jesus says a lot in His word about how we are to love one another, care for one another, share one another’s burdens, help one another, encourage one another, exhort one another, build one another up, and so on. Jesus is the one who says to not give up meeting together and encouraging one another daily because of the deceitfulness of sin. We need to be a part of a body, using our spiritual gifts for one another. If anyone says otherwise, they are contradicting Jesus, and that would be what? Sin. Jesus says that if we do not love our brothers...
1 John 3:10 NIV
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

Love the World

Tell others about Him and His Kingdom
Matthew 28:18–20 NIV
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Live in Obedience

John 8:31 NIV
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Matthew 7:24–27 NIV
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Luke 9:24 NIV
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Luke 9:25 NIV
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Follow me
Learn from me
Love the Body
Love the World
Jesus isn’t looking for someone who will do Him a favor. We don’t do favors for Jesus. We do for Jesus because we are His slaves. We receive favors from Jesus. What we do, what we really put our time and effort into shows what we follow. In the same way, what we do not really put our effort into, shows where we are just fans.
The Homework this week is to make a plan to Follow Jesus.
Learn from Him. Read Mark 1:17, Matthew 11:28-29, and Romans 12:1-2. Jesus wants us to follow Him by learning from Him, the way the disciples did. We need to learn from Him so that we can be transformed in our minds and actions to be like Him. Without learning from Him, we cannot follow Him. So, how will you continue to learn from Him? How will you plan to spend time reading and applying God’s Word? How will you memorize God’s Word (I would encourage you to get ScriptureTyper app)? How will you continue to learn from the teachers God has given to the body so that we can grow up and become mature in Christ (cf. Ephesians 4:11-12)? To whom will you be accountable to mutually encourage one another to Learn from Him?
Love and Worship Him. Matthew 14:33 shows how the disciples, as they learned from Jesus, recognized who He was. This lead them to love and worship Him. How will you make loving and worshipping Jesus a part of your daily life? We do worship with our lives (Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 10:31). However, I think it important to express our worship verbally in prayer and song. How will you make prayer a priority? Yes, we need to pray moment by moment throughout the day (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But I believe we also need to obey Jesus when in Matthew 6:6 and pray in private. We need that private concentrated time of Prayer. When and where will you make prayer a priority? Will you use the Bible app to join with your church in prayer? How will you fast to concentrate on prayer and worship (cf. Matthew 6:16-18)? Consider starting with one meal per week. How will you give (cf. Matthew 6:19-21)? Giving is an act of worship. How we use our “treasures” shows where our affections lie. To whom will you be accountable to enact your plan to Love and Worship Jesus?
Love the Body. Read John 13:1-17. Every follower of Jesus is a member of His body. Jesus has a lot to say in His Word about how we are to love and care for one another in His body. Being a part of a local church is an essential part of following Jesus, because this is the context in which we love the body. Check out these “one another” verses: 1 Corinthians 12:25; John 13:34-35;1 Peter 4:9; Romans 15:7; Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13; Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:13; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; James 5:16; Philippians 2:3; Romans 14:19; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:32; Acts 2:45; 2 Corinthians 8–9; Romans 12:15; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Galatians 6:1-5; Matthew 18:15-20. How will you become a more active part of the local body, and begin to follow Jesus in loving and serving fellow believers? To whom will you be accountable in growing in your love for the body?
Love the World. Read Matthew 4:19, and Matthew 28:18-20. Also read Luke 9:26 and Matthew 10:32-33. If you have time, read Acts. A big part of following Jesus is loving the world. And just as the Father sent the Son, He is sending us to love and proclaim Him to the world. We cannot be His disciples if we are not being witnesses to Him in this world. This takes words, not just a good life. Being a witness means we talk about Jesus. We share what He is teaching us. We share what He did. We share who He was. We share what He taught. We need to look for opportunities to bring Jesus into our conversations. How will you love the world? Who will you tell about Jesus’ love for the world this week? How will you bring Jesus into the conversation? When will you talk to them about Jesus? Pray and make a list of people who you will tell over the coming weeks. How will you make disciples? Jesus does not just want us to share the gospel. He wants us to make disciples. Who will you disciple? How will you disciple them? Talk to your pastors for ideas. Also, begin praying for our missionaries, and for the lost world to learn of Jesus’ love for them. Again, make a plan. How will you pray for the missionaries? Will you use the church’s prayer list? When will you pray? How will you give to support the spread of the gospel? how will you go and take the gospel to others? To whom will you be accountable?
Live in Obedience. John 8:31. What do you need to begin obeying? Is there any area of your life where you have not been obedient? What do you need to confess, repent and change? How will you model obedience for others? What will the change be? What verses will you memorize to renew your mind? What actions will you take to put on the mind of Christ and follow the Spirit to produce good fruit? To whom will you be accountable?
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