It seems every church, every person that calls them selves a Christian has their own definition of what it is to “follow Jesus” to be a “follower of Christ”. Their are a multitude of books, countless sermons on the subject, each with their own opinion of what it means.
Recently The Lord took me to Matthew 4:19 where Jesus says “And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.
When I think about these words, “Follow Me,” and being Jesus is clearly and absolutely worthy of far more than church attendance and casual association.
We are talking about the Savior King of the universe and the Righteous Judge of all, God in the flesh saying, “Follow Me.” Just let it soak in, the thought alone is Mind-boggling when you realize Who’s speaking here. God. And when He speaks you don’t just memorize it.
When Jesus comes to you and says, “Follow Me,” this is not a minor thing, there’s no potential for a casual response here. It’s either turn and run or bow and worship. You ether say No or Yes Lord!
So one can establish right off the bat that following Jesus is far more than church attendance, casual association, simply being a fan of Jesus. Imagine yourself standing before Jesus and Him saying to you “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”. How would your life change from that moment on.
As you know if somebody gets hit by a Simi Truck they look different. How much more when a person comes face-to-face with the God of the universe in the flesh, the Savior King of the nations and the Righteous Judge of all peoples Who is sovereign over everything in the world, when you meet Him…….you look different. Everything changes, you do not go on with life as it was, with the same goals, worldly ambitions, desires, purpose, lifestyle or even identity. Everything changes!
I go from doing what I want to do with my life, pursing what I want to do and be, to doing what Jesus says I am to do.
Jesus did not say follow me and ______________, you fill in the blank what that means, with what you want to do. No, He tells us what following Him means, what follows the word “and”. I don’t need to read commentaries, read volumes of books, ask Google to know what it is to be a follower, Jesus tells me here.
Jesus says, “I’m going to make you a fisher of men.” In other words, Jesus says, “I’m going to do a transforming work in your life that will enable you to spread My gospel all over the world. Your life is going to be spent for My purpose, being a fisher of men, that’s what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus.
Every follower of Jesus is to be a fisher of men according to Jesus in this passage.
And like I said in my last post, I want to be simple guy, be black and white, an authentic follower of Jesus. Just pick up my bible daily, read it, believe it, believe its for me, for today, and do it. That simple, that black and white.
So I pick up my bible, read Matthew 4:19 and Bingo, Jesus defines following Him, or maybe more precise, the result of being a follower perhaps. If we are following Him, He will make us fishers of men. Going back to my last post on Matthew 28:19-20 about “Go, make disciples”, put the two verses together it’s quite clear Jesus is saying if you are following Him, you’re a fisher of men, you will be making disciples.
So according to Jesus, what does it look like to be a follower of Jesus, you are a fisher of men, you are making disciples. That’s your new identity, purpose, and lifestyle.
Again like I said before if I just start with scripture, say here’s what it says, then I would get up every morning and say this is my job today, to let Jesus make me a fisher of men, and go do it, go make disciples.
It’s just black and white stuff, if I just started with scripture, pick up the bible and read it, and believe it, say here’s what I would do. I would be a fisher of men, that would define who I am and I’d start making disciples!
According to Jesus’ own words, if someone ask what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus, I would answer, if you’re a following Jesus, your a fisher of men, busy making disciples. Is there more to it than that, Yes, but this is where you start, this is the core of what following Jesus is, to be a fisher of men, to Go make disciples.
When I was a kid we played a game called Simon Says, I doubt kids today even know it since it not played on a smart phone. How you play it is if the person who’s “it” says, Simon says pat your head, or jump on one leg, or bark like a dog, you have do it, because Simon said to, or your out. That’s what the game is about, if Simon says do something, no matter what it is, you have to do it because you must obey Simon’s commands.
It’s very simple game, but it’s so weird how in the church, Jesus Says is a totally different game. If Jesus says to do something you don’t have to do it, you just have to memorize it, talk about it, have bible studies about it, and that’s it, you don’t have to actually do it.
It doesn’t make any sense, Jesus tells us to Go and make disciples, but yet how many people in the churches are actually making disciples? They’ve memorized the verse, so what, is that what Jesus asked us to do, memorized His commands? Do bible studies on what it would be like to do it?
If you told your daughter or son to go clean their room, they wouldn’t come back to you two hours latter and go, I’ve memorize what you said. You said “go clean your room”…….. and I can say it in Greek too. And my friends are going to come over and where going to have a study on what it would look like if I clean my room. Tomorrow I’m going to start a discussion group on the theology of what you said, theorize as to if you really meant “I” should do it, what exactly you meant by clean, and and is descriptive of prescriptive.
Your kids know better than that, and so why do we think we’re going to come before The Judge one day, before the one we say is our Lord. Stand before Jesus and quote everything that He said, talk about how much you know, and Jesus will say “well done good and faithful servant”? Really!
Note the key word in His statement is “done“, its a action, a verb, meaning you have completed a task you where given to do. The only way you can hear well done is if you do what Jesus said to do.
It’s just black and white stuff, if I just started with scripture, pick up the bible and read it, and believe it, here’s what I would do. I’d start making disciples!
I would Not just memorize it, do a bible study on what it would be like to do it, read two dozen books on the theology of it, argue whether or not it was for then only or for today, or is it’s descriptive or prescriptive. That’s not what I would do, I would say, Yes Lord Jesus and start making disciples.
If I just start with scripture, say here’s what it says, then I would get up every morning and say this is my job today, to make disciples of Jesus, and go do it.
I would just Go and make disciples……… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20)
And when you combined that with Jesus saying:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
Jesus’ very words to us are if you love Me you will do as I say, and He said, Go and make disciples. So ether we love and obey, or don’t and make excuses. that’s are only two choices.
I want to be simple guy, be black and white, an authentic follower of Jesus. Just pick up my bible daily, read it, believe it, believe its for me, for today, and do it. That simple, that black and white.
Francis Chan, my favorite pastor and David Platt, (in my top 10) have been teaming up on a new venture to help followers of Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, ….” (Matt. 28:18-20).
You can see their new Multiply Website with resources to help us make disciples.
The free and downloadable Multiply Material will be contain a 24-session discipleship experience where one person helps another understand what it means to follow Jesus, study Scripture, and be the church.
And there will be a Multiply Gathering that is a free, once-a-year webcast with Chan and Platt, where followers of Christ can gather and encourage one another in the disciple-making process.
You can register for the Free gathering here. The first two online events in 2012 will be on Friday, November 9 (7-10 PM, CST), and Saturday, November 10 (6-9 PM, PST).
Unless we make a shift in our thinking, many Christians will continue to look at missions as a sub-division of the church, or as a special “calling” for a “special group of people”. I spent three years on “the mission field”, I went to “be missionary” with YWAM. While I was in YWAM, I did not think much about doing “missions,” since I lived my daily life focused on what God wanted me to do. I did not start my day focused on being a missionary, but rather doing the task set before me that God had given our mission base to do. My everyday routine was doing work for God and for the Kingdom of God. And set out to look for and take advantage of every opportunity that came my way to preach the gospel, rescue a child off the streets, out of prostitution, out of drugs. Counsel someone hurting. Distribute food to those in need. Hold a bible study. Pray for someone. It was just life, normal everyday life with God for Christ for me.
Missions should be just that, being part of God’s plan, just a normal everyday way of living. He desires each and every person to be involved in His mission. What is God’s mission?
“ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; ” Luke 4:18
and “For the son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 10:19). That’s why He came and that’s what He wants each of us to be a part of. Jesus told us to do the same thing, to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). We are also told to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).
And I set out to do all of that every single day in YWAM, that was my daily to do list, and it still should be today.
How do I disciple a nation, one person at a time if need be. I do not know if I will ever preach the gospel to an entire nation (I sure want to), but I can preach the gospel to a neighbor, a waitress, a store clerk or a co-worker, a room full of people or even crowed street corner.
So what is missions? It is personally being involved in what is on God’s heart: seeking and saving that which is lost. And that is a full time job, a title we all can put on our card, resumes. Every one who claims to be a Christian is to be a missionary, full time missionary.
I was reminded today of the words of Jesus “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” that is so often quoted. But if you read the entire verse, and the two before it, that are the complete statement of Jesus. I think we might just learn that His statement “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” does not mean what everyone thinks it does.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:17-20
His words I am with you always seem to be linked to going, doing all the tings He mentions before those those famous words, that is what is known as the great commission. (more…)
I listen to a reading of a sermon preached by C H Spurgeon from April 27, 1856, over a 150 years ago called ‘Gospel Missions’, in today church lingo it could have been called ‘Gospel Centered Church’ or ‘Missional Church’. It could have, it should be given in the church today. Here we have a sermon on what is at the heart of being a missional church given 150 years ago.
Amazingly Spurgeon hits the key points about what the church is lacking today.
Things he says is missing in the church:
First, We have not apostolic men.
Second, They do not set about their work in an apostolic style.
Third, We do not have apostolic churches.
Fourth, We have not the apostolic influence of the Holy Spirit in the measure that the first church had.
“We have few Apostolic men in these times, preachers of God’s truth.”
“We have not men with Apostolic zeal like Paul, His zeal was so earnest, and so burning. Whether he did eat, or drink, or whatsoever he did, he did all for the glory of his God; he never wasted an hour.”
He went on to say:
“We lack men filled with the Holy Spirit of fire, we have not men with apostolic zeal. Men like Paul who preached the word everywhere, who say “Wow unto me if I preach not the gospel.” You had a convection when you saw him, that he was a man who felt he had a work to do. And must do it and could not contain himself unless he did do it.”
“Oh! if you could have seen Paul preach you would not have gone away as you do today with half a convection that we (pastors) do not mean what we say. I seldom hear a solitary sermon that comes up to the mark in earnest deep passionate longing for the souls of men.”
I gave a big AMEN to all that, and I really loved this:
“Oh had you seen an apostolic church, what a different thing it would have appeared to one of our churches. As different as light and dark. Where is our prayerfulness? Oh, if we prayed as deeply and as earnestly as they did we would have as much success. They broke bread from house to house, they ate their meat with singleness of heart giving glory to God. There was not a member of the church who was half hearted. They gave their heart solely to God.”
Just a few quotes from the sermon, all pastors, all Christians should hear this sermon, it will fire you up if their is even a smoldering amber of the Holy Spirit in you.
What if we live our lives from now to the moment we leave this earth, in such a way that our lives, and live message was so impacting on the culture. That it actual changes the culture of you neighborhood, your city. That you lived a life that was so unique, so compelling, that it actual changed the culture. Not is a worldly way, not for worldly agendas’ like the Republican or Democratic party, or a church domination, your own agenda, but for the sake of the gospel, for the Kingdom of God agenda.
And what if it even went beyond that, impacted the nation, and even expanded across the world to every nation. Even still effected people long after you had died. God did that though the people of the first century church, with people far less equipped and educated than you. With out the internet, cell phones, twitter or even the US Mail. With cars and jets to get across the globe hours.
Just think what He could do though you, if Him and His kingdom where you priority in life. If you chose to live a God centered, Jesus soaked life of mission.
Just something to think about.
I read for the first time yesterday about Scott Harrison founder of Charity Water, I was both elated and jealous (in a good Godly way) of his life and ministry. Scott after doing a 2 year tour with Mercy Ships (when I was in YWAM I got to go on their ship Anastasis it was part of YWAM then) he was the ship photojournalist, photo documenting their work during his time with the ministry. The things he saw changed his perspective on life, what was important, so he traded the life he once had in NY. Life in the fast lane, hanging out with the rich and famous, drinking $16 cocktails, driving a BMW to doing something about the water crisis, so he started raising money from those he knew in NY and founded Mercy Water.
As he put it "I fell in love with Liberia – a country with no public electricity, running water or sewage – Spending time in a leper colony and many remote villages, I put a face to the world’s 1.2 billion living in poverty." So when he left Mercy Ships he set out to spend his life for more then living for himself and his selfish pleasures, he could not get out of his mind people, children walking for miles everyday to get a few gallons of dirty water, that any American would not let their dog drink. People living in extreme poverty, so he decided to do something more with his life. Spend it for God and those closest to God’s heart, the poor.
So he founded Mercy Water, and in 3 years his group has raised $10 million (most of that last year alone) and has helped bring water to thousands of people.
I want his life as they say, my life to be spent for such a cause, purpose, I too would rather live poor serving God and help end the suffering and plight of the poor that clime the corporate latter, drive a Lexus and live in a 5000 sq ft home in Malibu on the beach. Would love for God to have that kind of calling and gifting on me.
Read about Scott and see Charity Waters website
Watch his video presentation at The Idea Camp
My website on world poverty Isaiah Challenge
Take this quick quiz . . .
How much time did you spend this past week:
Add all those hours up______:
Now how much time did you spend:
Add all those hours up______:
If our total hours is larger on the first than the second, then our lives are out of sync with Jesus, with His calling for every follower of Him, and things must change. All the things on the second list are the things Jesus said if you love Him you will be found doing, daily. All those things are what the life of a true follower of Christ should looks like, what it means to truly imitate the life of Christ. The difference between confessing who Christ is and truly being a follower of Christ.
It is time to reevaluate our lives and what we spend our time doing. Is it following Christ, obeying His commands, living for Christ or our selves and our own pleasures, just like the rest of the world? Is our life being spent to reach the lost, spread the gospel, make disciples, heal the sick, take care of the needy, orphans & widows, or it to obtain and maintain the American dream, be rich, happy and comfortable?