©2022 Spring Series
Not A Fan...A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 2 August 2022, Lesson 10
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 10 (pp. 143-156)
All In, Or Just In Because… – There can be no partial or limited Christians. Once we have come to Christ in faith, we are to commit ourselves to Him fully. While there is always a need for Christian growth and spiritual formation, our commitment to Jesus Christ is to be complete and unwavering. There were many who followed Jesus and claimed to be His disciples; however, Jesus challenged them as to their commitment. There also were persons who “admired” the work of Jesus, and sought ways of bartering with Him to receive what they thought was the ultimate good in life. Jesus assured such people who took a “fan-approach” to faith, that nothing less than a sacrificial life was required to follow Him (cf. Matthew 19:16-17; 20-22, NLT). Jesus never discouraged people from having a healthy sense of self; but He did warn against self-absorption, excessive pride; and selfishness. Jesus also spoke against the over consumption of wealth and excessive material possession. These were impediments to a committed life with Jesus; and created a conflict between worldly goods and spiritual values (cf. Matthew 19:24, NLT). In his devotional book, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman says: “We talk a lot about the truth that being a Christian means believing in Jesus – but we don’t say much about denying ourselves. That is such an unappealing message. How do you deny yourself in a culture that says it’s all about yourself?” Our current culture views the scriptures as archaic and written during an era when things were very different from today. However, the Scriptures still “searches the deepest places of our lives and thoughts.” Paul told the Christians in ancient Corinth, which equally applies to us today: “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” (cf. I Corinthians 2:13-14, NLT). There were some who followed Jesus, but they were not “all in.” They felt other priorities were more immediate. Jesus knew this compromised their commitment to Him (cf. Luke 9:59-62, NLT). Priorities that conflict with our commitment to Christ, will inevitably affect our relationship with Him. We should make sure that our priorities are those which God honors; and are a part of the plan He has for our lives. In following Christ, we should seek to hear His voice, so we can learn what sacrifices are necessary, beneficial, and most important (cf. Matthew 8:19-20, NLT).
All In, Or Just In Because… 2 – Jesus often encountered people who expressed an interest in being one of His disciples, but they were not fully committed to faith in Him as Lord and Savior. They also were not willing to venture beyond their immediate priorities to follow Jesus. They apparently wanted “in” with Jesus, for self-gain and even self-glory. Jesus realized that persons who offered excuses for not following him in the immediate, revealed a lack of genuine commitment. The Old Testament account of the call of Elisha to prophetic ministry, actually reveals the commitment of Elisha to his call by sincere acts of preparation. Young Elisha is plowing the field on his father’s large farm when he is approached by the great prophet Elijah. The prophet gives young Elisha his outer cloak, which Elisha is immediately aware the prophet is summoning him to be mentored to succeed the elder prophet in the prophetic ministry. Elisha, realizing the seriousness of this call, constructively accepts the invitation, but asks the prophet’s permission as he returns home to bid his parents, family, and neighbors good-bye. The prophet Elijah concedes, and Elisha later returns and becomes the assistant to Elijah (cf. I Kings 19:19-21, NLT). Elisha expresses no doubts or equivocation about assuming his task. He realized this was a life-time commitment. Elisha honored the custom of properly saying good-bye to his family and neighbors. Any endeavor the Lord has for us, should be met with prayer, sacrifice, love, and resolve. It is when we become one with the commitment, that we experience inner peace. The prophet Isaiah said of God: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Cf. Isaiah 26:3, NLT). The Apostle Paul spoke of putting priorities of the past in the rear-view mirror. His “peace” in Jesus Christ, gave him a single focus; which was to look at what lies ahead (cf. Philippians 3:13-14, NLT). Kyle Idleman comments: “When we sacrificially deny ourselves for Christ’s sake it is the clearest evidence of our commitment of love. A committed love is best demonstrated through sacrifice.” Fan-followers are reluctant to make sacrifices as a demonstration of their genuine love for Christ. Idleman says further: “One way fans try to follow Jesus without denying themselves is by compartmentalizing the areas of their lives they don’t want him to have access to.” A committed follower of Jesus Christ strives to be “all in” with Him. There’s no area of one’s life that is off-limits to the Savior. The very saints of Christ in heaven surrounds us and are witnessing our lives in the faith. Work to remove every sinful impediment (cf. Hebrews 12:1, NLT).
What We Believe!
“A follower will say no to self-interests. Fans will not!
1. A committed follower of Jesus is not just in, but all in!
Matt. 19:16-17;20-22, NLT
“Someone came to Jesus with a question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question – if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments… “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”
Luke 9:59-62, NLT
“He said to another person, “Come follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit the Kingdom of God.”
Matthew 8:19-20, NLT
“Then one of the teachers of religious law said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”
I Kings 19:19-21, NLT
“So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye and then I will go with you.” Elijah replied, “Goon back, but think about what I have done to you!” So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”
Philippians 3:13-14, NLT
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: For-getting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Hebrews 12:1, NLT “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”