©2022 Spring Series
Not A Fan...A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 10 July 2022, Lesson 7, Part 2
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 7 (pp. 101-111)
A Relationship With Jesus Defined – When Jesus began His public ministry, He told the people gathered at His hometown synagogue, that His ministry was for the healing and transformation of people (cf. Luke 4:16-21, NLT). Jesus read from a passage of Scripture in what we refer to as Isaiah 61. Jesus boldly stated the liberation of people trapped in life’s onerous conditions, would occur through His ministry. The prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled through Jesus. When Jesus explained that God’s plan of healing, salvation, and building a new community was not limited to Jews, but included Gentiles, the hometown crowd abruptly turned against Him (cf. Luke 4:25-30, NLT). They nearly succeeded in assassinating Jesus. The scripture states: “They intended to push Him over the cliff, but He passed right through the crowd and went on His way (cf. Luke 4:29b, NLT). Since the sermon Jesus gave in Nazareth was likely the inaugural message for His ministry, we see evidence of His intent to transform and heal lives in conformity with justice, spiritual values, ethics. and morality. An ethical conduct was prescribed for followers of Jesus that exceeded the secondary laws and rituals of the religious leaders. The core of a relationship with Jesus is defined by how we pursue His principles; apply them to our lives; and, treat others right (cf. Matthew 5:3-12, NLT). Jesus said His teaching was not to repeal the Old Law; but to apply (fulfill) the Law for our living. He said, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose (cf. Matthew 5:17, NLT). In accomplishing the purpose of others who earlier received the commandments, Jesus would teach and show people how to live! Knowing how to live helps form our spiritual identity. The Apostle Peter encouraged early Christians not to be surprised when persons from previous relationships treat them differently; even saying untrue things about them. Peter essentially counseled Christians to leave such matters to God, who alone will vindicate His children (cf. I Peter 4:4-5, NLT). We have in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles who represented Him, the ethical and moral principles which can ground our lives. Our relationship with Jesus is defined by our ability to “stay the course” in living according to His teachings and in modeling His character. In a world of change, we must be grounded in principles that are true, eternal, and Christ-centered. None of us can change everything about the world, but the world can become transformed through our witness in Jesus Christ. We are not expected to be Jesus; but called to be like Him!
A Relationship With Jesus Defined – Peter’s contribution to Christian formation and identity is most important. He ministered during a period when Christians were under great persecution. There is a sense of urgency in His teachings to the church. Peter firmly believed, as most Christians did near the closing decades of the first century A.D., the return of Jesus was imminent. For certain the destruction of Jerusalem would occur soon. The background of these events, sent an urgency through the Christian community to adhere to the teachings of their Savior, and to be an example of Him in a hostile environment. Peter said Christians foremost must “show deep love for one another” (cf. I Peter 4:7-10, NLT). Peter was with Jesus and the other disciples, when among His last teachings Jesus instructed: “Your love for one another will prove that you are my disciples (cf. John 13:35, NLT). Along with living out the ethic of love; the disciples were told to have a
“disciplined prayer life,” and to “be charitable and hospitable” toward persons in need. What we learn in the Scripture, is that our Christian identity is formed by principles that define and shape our moral character. Our Christian identity determines how we live and navigate life. Being a Christian does not exempt us from trials or challenges; but it deepens our roots. We are able to withstand the winds of adversity. When we endure hardship for God’s purpose, we are modeling the life of Jesus Christ (cf. I Peter 4:14-17, NLT). Growing up in Florida living through hurricanes, I noticed the palm trees more often survived a storm without being uprooted. I thought it was the flexible trunk of the palm tree that prevented it from collapsing. I learned it was really the root structure of the palm tree, which is very sensitive to where water is. The roots find water (even in the desert); which strengthens their basic structure. Peter said of our Christian formation and identity, that any adverse experience we encounter will “restore, support, and strengthen (position) you on a firm foundation (cf. I Peter 5:10, NLT). The Apostle Paul also acknowledged that our strength as Christians is derived from our committed relationship with Jesus. This relationship causes our spiritual “roots” to grow deeper in God’s love. A strong relationship with the Lord helps us understand the power and magnitude of His great love (Cf. Ephesians 3:17-18, NLT). In the devotional book, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman says: “Jesus has defined the relationship he wants with you. He is not interested in enthusiastic admirers…[but] He wants completely committed followers.”
What We Believe!
“Our relationship with Jesus is defined by how we live!
1. There’s no genuine life in Christ, outside of His teachings and example!
Matthew 5:3-12, NLT
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
I Peter 4:4-5, NLT
“Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead.”
I Peter 4:7-10, NLT
“The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most import-ant of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”
I Peter 4:14-17, NLT
“So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?”
I Peter 5:10, NLT
“In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you on a firm foundation.”
Ephesians 3:17-18, NLT
“Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And you may have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.”