©2022 Spring Series
Not A Fan... A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 5 July 2022, Lesson 7, Part 1
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 7 (pp. 101-111)
Defining Our Relationship With Jesus (Part 1) – Though many receive salvation through confessing faith in Jesus Christ, a committed relationship with Christ often wanes; or at times, appears to be non-existent. Jesus teaches us that to remain in a committed relationship with Him, we must be willing to follow His teachings. Making a conscious and concerted effort to live according to God’s will; His purpose for our lives, will assure a committed relationship with Jesus. Jesus persistently reminded His followers that external acts of spirituality alone, are not sufficient in attaining a genuine relationship with Him (cf. Matthew 7:21-23, NLT). Jesus was aware that there were people who judged their own spirituality by what they did; rather than submitting their lives to Christ’s call on them. Jesus said the consequences of a ministry and life of “self-promotion” can be detrimental! Jesus further states that we define our relationship with Him by our ability to “listen” and “follow” His teachings. He gives the parable, which contrasts two different foundations used to support the structure of a house. Obviously, to “listen” to Jesus and “follow” (apply) His teachings represent the house built on a solid slab of stone. Such a house survived the elements of wind and storms. Failure to studiously listen to the teachings of Jesus (which amounts to mere “hearing”), will cause a person not to follow His teachings. This is represented by a house, hastily built on sand. Sand was a common place for pitching tents by nomads who were briefly passing through a town in ancient times. Persons intending to reside in a village, took great care in building a house, and looked for a solid stone for its foundation (cf. Matthew 7:24-27, NLT). In the helpful devotional, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman shares this challenge for us to ponder: “We are saved by God’s grace when we believe in Jesus and put our faith in him, but biblical belief is more than something we confess with our mouths; it’s something we confess with our lives.” Idleman’s point here is that “our lives must reflect what we say we believe.” This distinction defines our relationship with Jesus. Out Lord reminded the religious establishment of His day that the prophet Isaiah had described the behavior of persons who failed to worship God genuinely and follow His teachings. Moreover, these people who called themselves “holy” and “faithful,” dishonored God by their attitudes and aberrant teachings (cf. Matthew 15:7-9, NLT). Jesus warned those who followed Him to avoid such behavior! Pastor Idleman says, “A fan may say “Lord, Lord,” but a fan doesn’t live “Lord, Lord.”He says further, “A belief is more than what we say.” It’s how we live!
Identity formation comes as a result of relationship. Along with our essential faith in Jesus, we become Christians through our relationship with Jesus as Lord. As we come to learn and understand His teachings, we grow into His character; becoming like Him. What some used as a term of derision for those who followed Jesus Christ; the term, Christian, came to mean, “Christ-followers” (cf. Acts 11:25-26, NLT). Despite persecution and reprisal, early believing disciples became “committed followers” of Jesus Christ. Jesus, in answering a query by Peter, assured the disciple that following Him was not about adherence to rituals and legalism. To be a committed follower of Jesus was to safeguard one’s inner being; which, if it were not cultivated, would expunge evil thoughts and induce immoral behavior (cf. Matthew 15:15-20, NLT). The further point Jesus makes is that external rituals, are no substitute for having a pure heart! In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God (cf. Matthew 5:8, NLT). The early Christian leader, Tertullian, is said to have observed some non-believers watching a group of Christians (some believe, ostensibly before being executed). They remarked, “O how they love one another.” The relationship with Jesus for those Christians was defined as “committed” at all cost. The early apostles admonished followers of Christ to put their faith to action. They were to help persons in need of food, shelter, and care. The prophet Micah called those who served God to moral, religious, and ethical responsibility. The prophet declared God is not as interested in ritualistic offerings, as He is in how we treat others, and our genuine devotion to Him (cf. Micah 6:6-8, NLT). In addressing the church in Philippi, the Apostle Paul has poignantly described the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We are urged to have “the same” sacrificial attitude that Jesus had. It is through Christ’s commitment and humility for the mission entrusted to Him, that He became exalted to preeminence (cf. Philippians 2:5-11, NLT). Defining our relationship with Jesus means we must put much effort in making sure that our lives are fully open to His work. The Apostle Paul had been a great teacher /mentor to the Christians in Philippi, but as he neared the end of his days, he realized that they needed to pursue a deeper relationship with Christ for themselves. Paul told them: “…And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you…giving you the power to do what pleases Him (Phil.2:12b, NLT)
What We Believe!
“Our lives should reflect Jesus’ character each day!
1. A life in Jesus is defined by how we live, and treat others!
Matthew 7:21-23, NLT
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”
Matthew 7:24-27, NLT
“Any one who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bed-rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
Matthew 15:7-9, NLT
“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.”
Matthew 15:15-20, NLT
“Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.” “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
Micah 6:6-8, NLT
“What can we bring to the Lord? What kind of offerings should we give Him? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer Him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our first-born children to pay for sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Philippians 2:5-11, NLT
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”