©2022 Spring Series
Not A Fan... A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 7 June 2022, Lesson 3
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 3(pp. 41-51)
More Than Knowledge – Our faith is more than knowing “about” Jesus, but having a relationship with Him. Knowledge of Christ is essential, else, how would we know what He says, and what He offers us? But, fundamental to our knowledge of the Lord, is the cultivation of a relationship with Him. In his helpful book, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman notes that a fan can learn a great deal about what the person they’re impressed with can do. However, the fan does not really know the person. The fan may have different types of trinkets and information about the person, but none of those things places the fan in a genuine relationship with the one they admire. This disconnect between a person’s sense of knowledge about someone, and a genuine relationship with someone, is seen in the scriptures. The Pharisees, a group of religious leaders, had some knowledge of God, but they substituted their rituals for both a genuine relationship with God, and a mature understanding of His will (cf. Matthew 15:1-9, NLT). Author Kyle Idleman commented: “They [Pharisees] knew about God, but what we discover is they really didn’t know him.” Idleman also says that what separates the fan from the follower of Jesus, is “the difference between knowledge and intimacy.” We come to experience closeness with our Savior, by earnestly seeking to create and sustain a relationship with Him. Knowledge of Jesus alone, will not cause us to know Him as we should. James told the early Christians that coming into fellowship with God is an intentional act! He says further, to experience a close relationship with God, they first needed to unload any aspects of behavior that impeded a genuine relationship (cf. James 4:8, NLT). Pastor Idleman tells the story of attending a fan night, for hundreds of people who were admirers of an actor on a daytime award-winning show. Pastor Idleman was invited by the actor to address the group. When Idleman arrived in the great ballroom, the group was playing a trivia game, to see who knew the most about the actor. The fans had much to say about the actor, and Idleman was impressed. Later, he realized regardless of how much the fans knew about the actor, none of them had a real friendship or relationship with him. Idleman did, because the actor was a member of his church, and they had become Christian friends. The excited crowd knew things about the actor, but unlike Idleman, they did not have a relationship with him. Our knowledge of Christ must be cultivated into a genuine relationship with Him. Paul said it's not enough to look or act religious, but we must have a relationship with the Christ of whom the scriptures speak (cf. 2 Timothy 3:5, NLT).
Getting To Know Jesus - Jesus is neither the object, nor the mere subject, of our faith. He is our Lord, and it is through Him and the Heavenly Father we have life. Paul used a saying familiar to the Gentile world, to emphasize the greatness of God, and the power of having a relationship with Him. Paul said: “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him – though He is not far from any of us. For in Him we live and move and exist. As some of your own people have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.” (Cf. Acts 17:27-29, NLT) Paul told the Christians at Philippi, he sought a genuine relationship with Christ, where he could vicariously understand the Lord’s suffering, and experience a resurrection (cf. Philippians 3:10-11, NLT). This strong language lets us know how intentional Paul was in identifying with Jesus in a relational way. The scriptures explain that from the moment we became a follower of Christ, we were united with Him in His redemptive death and glorious Resurrection. Because we are united with Jesus, we can live new lives, in perpetual relationship with Him (cf. Romans 6:3-5, NLT). If we were only fans of Christ, we would know about His deeds and words; however, we would never experience a relationship with Him as a follower. The challenge for every Christian is this: Do we have knowledge about God, or do we know who He is in our lives? A word used often in the Old Testament to speak of intimacy in relationship is yada. As pastor Idleman emphasizes, the word means “to know and to be known.” A beautiful illustration of the use of the word, yada, is David’s passionate prayer in Psalm 139. David says, “O Lord you have examined my heart and know everything about me (cf. Psalm 139:1, NLT). Because of David’s close relationship with God, he says further, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (cf. Psalm 139:23-24, NLT).” Our experience of Christ must be intentional, personal, and knowledgeable. Like the people in the ancient town of Sychar who engaged with Jesus, we must become followers of Him for ourselves (cf. John 4:39-42, NLT). Our knowledge of Jesus Christ is important, and it involves more than the acquisition of facts and words. Our knowledge of Jesus, should lead us into a deeper relationship with Him. We must come to know the Savior, and to be known by Him!
What We Believe!
“We need more than knowledge of, but intimacy with Jesus!
1. The fan knows about Jesus. The follower knows Jesus.
Matthew 15:1-9, NLT
“Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked Him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” Jesus replied, “And why do you by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks dis-Respectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. So you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tra- dition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.”
James 4:8, NLT
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands you sinners; Purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”
2 Timothy 3:5, NLT
“They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that.”
Philippians 3:10-11, NLT
“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death. So that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead.”
Romans 6:3-5, NLT
“Or have you forgotten that when you were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined Him in His death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we may also live new lives. Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised to life as He was.”
2 Corinthians 3:16-18, NLT
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit and wherever the Spirit is there is freedom. So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit- makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.”
John 4:39-42, NLT
“Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see Him, they begged Him to stay in their village. So He stayed long enough for many more to hear His message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, because we have heard Him ourselves. Now we know that He is indeed the Savior of the world.”