Bible Study Notes 7/19/22
©2022 Spring Series
Not A Fan...A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 19 July 2022, Lesson 8
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 8 (pp. 115-128)
An Open Invitation To Follow Jesus – Jesus is not interested in us becoming an enthusiastic admirer of His work, Jesus invites “any” and “all” persons to accept His love, believe His teachings, and to become a committed follower. An open and unconditional invitation to follow Jesus is made available to all who will come to believe Him. No exam or human accomplishments are required. Jesus accepts us where we are, and invites us to become much more! In the religious system Jesus grew up in and was very familiar with, only selected people could become “disciples” or gate-keepers of their faith (Judaism). We might recall that in reflecting on his earlier days, the Apostle Paul spoke of being accepted in a Rabbinic school, headed by the great Rabbi Gamaliel. Paul also mentioned how important his heritage was, in that he was a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin; which gave Israel its first King (Saul); whose name Paul was given at birth. Paul mentioned that once he answered the call to follow Christ, none of those prerequisites meant anything to him. Nicodemus had a background similar to Paul’s. But Jesus assured Nicodemus, the invitation to follow Him is to “whoever believes in Him.” (Cf. John 3:16, NIV). That verse is likely quoted in more languages and dialects than any in the entire Bible. It’s important to also read the expectations Jesus has given us in being a committed follower. While Jesus accepts us where we are; He wants us to become more than what we are! There is accountability in following Jesus (cf. Luke 9:23-25, NLT). The Luke passage is an invitation to be responsible, so the Lord can take us to greater places; and to help us transform into the charcter of Jesus Christ. In his devotional, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman explains this in basic terms: “Believing and Following. Those two things must necessarily go together. There is no believing without following. There is no John 3:16 without Luke 9:23.” Jesus also invites us to follow Him, and to come regardless of our situations or burdens. Jesus assures us that He can help us remove the human constraints that weigh us down. He assures us that the responsibilities He gives us are not to defeat us; but they can help us as we grown into His likeness. Unlike the world that offers harsh lessons; Jesus can teach us to pursue the right path in life. All who truly follow Christ can “learn from Him” (cf. Matthew 11:28-30, NLT). There are many examples in the Scripture, where Jesus invited people to follow Him who were ostracized by their community. Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, was likely expected to be trained by some of the Rabbi teachers in the Talmud. Instead, he became an agent for Rome, and much despised (cf. Matt. 9:9, NLT).
An Open Invitation To Follow Jesus – There is no limit for the love Jesus has for inviting people to follow Him. Matthew was given the name Levi at birth. Often children were given names by their parents with an expectation that the child would pursue a specific or special path in life. Levi is a short form of the word Levite. The Levites were a family of priests, whose special function was to attend to the ministry within the Temple. Some believe Matthew’s family were members of the priestly order, and he was expected to follow in that tradition. The priests were highly respected, as they were the official intercessors before Yahweh in the Temple. For reasons unknown, Matthew did not follow the priestly vocation. When Jesus found him, Matthew was a tax collector. All tax collectors were unscrupulous, and cheated people out of their money, valuables, crops, and livestock. Matthew, a Jew, was working for the Romans, who oppressed the Jews and restricted their movement. Although greatly despised, Jesus “invited” Matthew to follow Him, and to become one of His disciples. Kyle Idleman comments: Jesus finds Matthew hiding behind this tax collector’s booth, and when Jesus comes by Matthew expects a pointed finger and words of rejection. Instead he finds open arms and a gracious invitation. He says to Matthew, “Follow me.” Matthew invited Jesus to dine at his home. Jesus embraced all the people there; for which He was criticized. Jesus used the occasion to assure the people that His mission was for “all” who are in need of healing and life-transformation (cf. Matthew 9:10-14, NLT). Jesus is accepting of all, for He knows what rejection is about. Jesus knows what it is like to be overlooked and marginalized. He has come to “re-birth” us into a spiritual family (cf. John 1:10-13, NLT). Sometimes a person may take a wrong turn in life, and all hope of redemption seems lost. However, Jesus invites all who will believe and follow Him to become a new creation. The Scripture declares: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person [creation]. The old life is gone. The new life has begun.” (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). This can occur at any point in life. The request of the criminal on the cross besides Jesus, asked to enter His kingdom. He wanted to be a follower of Christ, for he had come to believe he was the Messiah, Jesus welcomed the man and assured him that he would be with Jesus in paradise (cf. Luke 23:39-42, NLT). Jesus removes every stain of sin we have on the fabric of our lives, and He cancels the resulting penalty of eternal death. We are invited to believe on Him and follow Him each day of our lives. We become more like Him!
What We Believe!
“Jesus invites all, without restrictions, to follow Him!
1. To follow Jesus is to believe and act on His promises!
John 3:16, NIV
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Luke 9:23-25, NLT
“Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world, but are yourself lost or destroyed?”
Matthew 11:28-30, NLT
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 9:9, NLT
“As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him.”
Matthew 9:10-14, NLT
“Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples. “Why does your teacher eat with such scum? When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor –sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
John 1:10-13, NLT
“He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”
Luke 23:39-42, NLT
“One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed. “So you’re the Messiah are you? Prove it by saving yourself –and us, too. While you’re at it.” But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus
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