Who Do You Follow?
Who Do You Follow?
Opening: Sports fans… walking through parking lot to 49ers game and seeing all the little shrines to Joe Montana in front of the Winnebagos. Radical behavior… shave logos into hair… paint their bodies with team colors… no shirts in freezing weather… get into fights over whose team is better… invest thousands of dollars into tickets, apparel, subscriptions, etc.
There are die-hard fans: life is defined by the season.
There are more casual fans: life is enhanced by the season.
Even more band-wagon fans: life is briefly side-tracked by the end of the season if the team has been successful.
Transition: Jesus had fans too!
Luke 14:25 25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: NIV
· Great teaching
· Stuck it to the religious elite
· Some impressive miracles
· A potential political superstar
Jesus knew fans would only go so far though… what have you done for me lately?
· Some could have even been considered radical followers of Jesus, but on their terms. When Jesus didn’t do things their way, they left Him.
· During the beginning stages of His ministry a large group of followers attached themselves to Jesus… until He said this…
Jesus always wanted true followers, or what is called disciples.
o Disciple: A learner. One who attaches himself or herself to a teacher in order to learn a trade or subject.
o Then having learned, a disciple lives like one who has learned.
o The teacher transforms a disciple’s life.
Luke 6:40 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. NIV
o We’re all followers of something.
o Our lives are continuously being shaped by one influence or another.
o At the very least we should be aware of what is shaping our lives.
· Salvation: coming to the cross and trusting Jesus.
· Discipleship: carrying the cross and following Jesus.
So Jesus, disregarding all the church growth manuals and business techniques for expanding his following turned around and said to them,…
Luke 14:26-33 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. NIV
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS?
1. Hate everyone else by comparison to your love for Jesus
a. Luke 14:33 33“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple. The Message
b. Hate by comparison.
i. That’s hard for me to comprehend.
ii. It’s tough for me to get my mind around it.
1. I’ve been blessed with great parents
a. Never abused
b. Grew up in a home that honored God
c. Always provided for
d. Hate has never entered the equation
e. Adolescent struggles for independence, yes. Hate, no.
2. I have a son who I love with great joy
a. I’d give my life for him.
b. To hate him is unthinkable to me.
c. Even when disciplining him, hate is never the motivation behind it.
3. I love my wife very much
a. She never disagrees with me and always thinks I’m right!
b. She laughs at my dry and drool humor.
c. She used to go to baseball games with me.
d. She’s been a rock for me during some difficult days in the past year.
e. Marriage is hard work, but I’m blessed again in having a wife that hate is a word that doesn’t enter the picture.
iii. In some cases, family can become an obstacle to following Jesus.
1. Ridicule for following Jesus.
2. Possible exclusion from the family for following Jesus.
3. Loss of a spouse for following Jesus.
4. Loss of friendships for following Jesus.
5. For some people in this world, even today, choosing to follow Jesus could very well mean the loss of your life.
2. Carry Your Own Cross
a. Luke 9:23 23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. NIV
b. Luke 9:23 23Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. The Message
c. For the original 12 disciples, this included real suffering and death.
d. In America today it means submitting to the leadership, really the mastership, of Jesus.
i. We live for His purposes, not our own.
ii. The pursuit of the American dream is probably not one of His purposes.
iii. It means we cease to make self the object of our actions.
iv. We identify ourselves with Jesus and His suffering and death.
3. Count The Cost
a. Go into following Jesus with your eyes wide open.
i. No bait and switch
b. Following Jesus is not about a trouble free life.
i. Expect a completely new set of tensions.
ii. The blessings we receive are not necessarily the ones that we’d want if left up to us.
1. New cars
2. New boats
3. Perfect health
4. Parking space close the entrance of the mall
5. The ability to ace tests we haven’t prepared for
iii. My personal test: if my faith is not able to translate to the follower of Jesus in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, any place that is not filled with the convenience and security of Oregon, than my faith has not counted the cost.
1. Our persecution is minimal if non-existent.
2. Those who don’t follow Jesus are not expected to live like they do.
4. Don’t Try It Alone
Matthew 11:28-29 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. NIV
a. Our teacher, the one we would follow knows the challenges we face in being His disciples.
b. He does not take lightly the cost to us in following Him.
i. In His love
iii. Peace with God
d. A Shared Yoke:
i. A tool for carrying burdens shared with Jesus.
ii. The load carried on bigger shoulders than ours.
2. Legalism (demands of religious people)
3. Oppression & persecution for following Jesus
4. Weariness in your search for God.
iii. Not the end of work
iv. Trials will come
v. Serving Jesus is tough in a fallen world
vi. Our purpose is not our own to determine
vii. But everything is in the perspective of our teacher, our leader.
A Gentle and Humble Teacher