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Mar 1 Part 3 Following Jesus: “Following Jesus Requires Making Him Our Priority”

The invitation to discipleship [TO FOLLOW JESUS] is a call to a fervent, passion-filled lifestyle, that might be misinterpreted by others, But Puts Christ Truly First in Our Life.

  • Your Attitude about Following Jesus will Determine Your Action.  And Your Action Day after Day will Determine if Christ is a Priority in Your Life!

Phil 3: 8-10 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith inChrist—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”

KEY: If we choose to Almost follow Jesus, tagging along with Christians only when it’s socially acceptable and psychologically comfortable, We’ll Come to the End of the Benefits of Christianity.  BUT…If we truly Follow Him —Embracing Trials and Opposition for His sake, and Leaving Whatever‘s Necessary Behind — We Won’t Need to Chase Comfort, Attention, or Happiness Here…It Will Fill Your Life Daily!

If You Choose to Just ALMOST Follow Jesus, Matthew 8 Gives us 3 Ways to Almost Follow Jesus.            

1. Follow Jesus (Without) Your Heart.When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, the crowds were amazed and chased after him. Matthew 8:1, “When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.  Matthew 7:29 “Because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law”.   They were in awe of his authority, his boldness, his insight, his miracles. But NOT Ready to Submit to His Authority.

When Jesus met a Roman centurion who pleaded with him to heal his paralyzed servant. Jesus agrees, but see how the man replies, Matthew 8:8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.He explains, in verse 9, For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

  • Like the crowds, he recognizes Jesus’s authority, but UNLIKE the crowds, he Understand The Authority of Christ and He Bows to it.
  • Verse 10,When Jesus heard this, He was Amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
  • Here Jesus is teaching “Followers” What it Really Means to Follow, and He’s pointing to their enemy, a Roman officer.

Jesus says to each of us…True Followers Do Not Chase Me for My Miracles, But Follow Me Because I am Worthy of Their Life’s Faith and Devotion.

2. Almost Followers…Fall Away When Following Jesus Gets Hard.  In verse 19 A scribe came up and said to Jesus, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go”  In Verse 20 Jesus responded, Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

To follow Christ is NOT to share in Fame, Power, or Comfort (at least not yet), But First to Share in Sacrifice, Suffering, and Hostility.

In Matthew 10:38 Jesus says, Whoever does Not take up their Cross and Follow Me is Not Worthy of Me.”

  • True followers do not chase me for earthly comfort or reputation, but embrace the suffering and rejection of being united to a crucified Savior.

3. Almost Followers of Jesus, Hear, “Follow Me,” and Drag Their Feet.  The HESITATOR

In Matthew 8:21-22   Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

  • To be honest with you this is one of those hard passages in the Bible to deal with, Until we take a Closer Look at the probable Situation.
  • Commentators tell us that it is unlikely that the man’s father was dead at this point. In all probability he was not even sick. In the culture of the day when a person dies he was buried the same day.
  • What he likely said to Jesus was, “I want to follow you but first I need to go home and work and wait until my father dies… then I will come and follow you.”

This puts this Verse in a whole Different Perspective. Will the son wait for a week, a month, for years? How long will it be before the father dies and how important is following Jesus in the meantime?

He does Not say, “Yes I will follow you right now.” He says, “Permit me to go…” These are the words of a person who is not ready to make a commitment. “Lord – let me do this first – then…”

  • If following Jesus meant he had to become a follower at that very moment – at that very second – he was Not willing to do it. And if he didn’t do it then – it probably wasn’t going to happen at all.
  • That is why Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, BUT YOU – Go and Proclaim the Kingdom of God.” Jesus says the same thing several chapters later, but with greater clarity,

“Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wifeor children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

Following Jesus Always Means Leaving Something. You Can’t Continue to be All You Were, and Simply Add Jesus into Your Routine.But whatever you’re asked to leave behind — even the most precious relationships — will pale next to all that you receive, now and Throughout Eternity.

  • True followers do Not fit Jesus in and around their other relationships and priorities. Rather…They Make Him their First Love and Highest Priority.

Question:  Are You Following Jesus…OR…Just Chasing what Jesus offers?

  • If You are truly following Jesus, You are Not chasing miracles and spectacles like the crowds, but bowing Your Knees in Reverent Awe like the Roman Centurion.
  • Not avoiding the costs of following Jesus at all costs, But Rejoicing even when others would reject You, oppose You, or make fun of You For Your Faith.  Not believing that Following Jesus Means You are Given a Hall-pass to Evade Problems, Trials and Testing’s.
  • True Followers are Made in a Moment, But Proven Over a Lifetime.  That’s the Difference between a Follower of Christ or Just a Fan of Christ!

POINT: YOUR ACTIONS EXPRESS YOUR PRIORITIES!

  • In John 14: 6 Jesus brought a radical message to the world. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus calls us to follow Him. To Commit to Him Completely.  To “Count the COST”. To “Leave some things BEHIND.  To “Not Look BACK”. These are the Actions of a True Follower of Jesus Christ!

With His Help, May we Go Wherever He Calls…Whenever He Calls, Knowing, that He Knows best, and that Anything We Lose or Leave Behind Will Be Repaid a Hundredfold.