©2022 Spring Series
Not A Fan...A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 31 May 2022, Lesson 2
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 2 (pp. 29-39)
A Commitment - Arriving at a decision to follow Jesus Christ in faith is essential to our spiritual life. Being committed to live the life Christ teaches, is indispensable to our faith. Regardless of our status in life, faith in Christ directs us to seek an increasing relationship with Him. That commitment always begins with a compelling desire to know more about Christ; and life in the Kingdom, He teaches us about. Our belief in what Christ promises us, brings us into the realization of a “new birth.” Jesus told the prominent Jewish civic and religious leader, the life we have in Him is “spiritual,” and therefore different from the life to which we were physically born. We might remember from Lesson 1, the Greek term used to describe our spiritual birth is, anagennao, which means literally “a different birth.” It also implies, a new and “different relationship.” Nicodemus is described in the scriptures as seeking more than religion. He is really seeking to know about Christ’s kingdom, and what is involved in coming to be a part of that Kingdom; the benefits it offers. Jesus redirected the thinking of Nicodemus from the perception of mere religion to the transformation of life through relationship in Him (cf. John 3:1-3, NLT). Jesus teaches us that the spiritual life is bounded by moral, ethical, and spiritual principles. These, help us avoid worldly entanglements, which could compromise our relationship with God (cf. Matthew 7:13-14, NIV). While concerned about what we believe, Jesus is also concerned with how we live. In His day (and in our own), Jesus was aware that much religion is reduced to rituals, symbols, and behaviors, which are contrary to a true spiritual life . Jesus was adamant in teaching that persons who only practiced rituals, without a relationship with God, would suffer dire consequences (cf. Matthew 7:21-23, NIV). In his book, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman, said Nicodemus had to make the move from religion to relationship. He says: “Nicodemus has made a decision about Jesus, but that’s not the same as following him. Jesus would not accept a relationship with Nicodemus where he simply believed; Jesus wanted Nicodemus to follow. Jesus didn’t want Nicodemus just at night; he wanted Nicodemus during the day too.” The Lord seeks to have relationship and fellowship will all, but we must come to believe Him and remand our lives to Him (cf. 2 Peter 3:9b, NIV). Our faith in Christ is not measured by quantitative things. It isn’t “how much” we do; it’s how well and sincere we follow the Lord in serving Him. In seeking a relationship with Christ, we must follow Him! Fans want Jesus to inspire them, so they admire Him. Followers want Jesus to lead their lives!
A Follower Seeks Relationship - Jesus condemned a person’s exercise of religion which mostly involved acts of unnecessary rituals and self-centeredness; in contrast to a person living in relationship with God. Jesus warned His faithful followers that they must avoid putting religious acts over true relationship with God (cf. Matthew 5:20, NIV). Early Christians were taught that they needed “faith” to enter a relationship with the Lord. This relationship through faith is open to all who believe, and offers salvation and eternal life without bias toward none (cf. Romans 10:11-14, NLT). The Apostle Paul says that once we come into a “relationship” with the Lord, we discard certain things in life we once thought were invaluable. Our relationship in Christ, transforms us into a new person. Our faith matures us into a “right relationship” with God, and resets our priorities (cf. Philippians 3:7-9, NLT). Kyle Idleman describes the contrast between what some Christians want, and what God wants to do for us. He says, “Most of us don’t mind Jesus making some minor changes in our lives, but Jesus wants to turn our lives upside down. Fans don’t mind Him doing some touch-up work, but Jesus wants complete renovation. Fans come to Jesus thinking tune-up, but Jesus is thinking overhaul…” The stark contrast is the difference between the thinking of a fan and a follower. The scriptures cite many examples where people followed Jesus because they “admired” what He did. However, all who admired Jesus were not willing to commit their lives to Him. Nicodemus evidently was an exception. The scriptures provide two instances where it is obvious Nicodemus became a true follower of Jesus as Lord. In John 7:50, Nicodemus was the lone justice on the Sanhedrin Court who defended Jesus in His right to have a fair trial before His accusers. Upon the death of Jesus on the cross, Nicodemus is named along with Joseph of Arimathea as disciples, who successfully convinced the Roman authorities to hand the body of Jesus over to them for proper burial (cf. John 19: 39-42, NLT). A mere fan of Jesus would not have taken these bold steps. Implied in these actions is evidence of a true relationship with Jesus. The committed will remain with Jesus, mere admirers do not have such a relationship. Jesus chided some “fans” who followed Him only for free bread. He said, “…You want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understand the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you… (cf. John 6:26-27a, NLT). We should seek a true relationship with Christ!
What We Believe!
“Our faith is more than a decision, it’s a commitment!”
1. Our relationship with God is more important than religion!
John 3:1-3, NLT
“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Matthew 7:13-14, NIV
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”
Matthew 7:21-23, NIV
“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven, Many will say unto me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.”
2 Peter 3:9b, NIV
“Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Matthew 5:20, NIV
“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
Romans 10:11-14, NLT
“As the Scripture tells us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”
Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. ”
Philippians 3:7-9, NLT
“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.”
Romans 12:9-16a, NLT
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor; serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another…”