Spring/Late Summer Series
Not A Fan... A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 13 Sept. 2022, Lesson 12
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 12 (pp. 175-187)
Committed At All Times - While God gives us the freedom to make choices, there is no choice for which there is no consequence. This is equally true in our life of faith. We live in an era where we have more choices than ever in human history. In many ways, we benefit greatly because of these choices; yet, the most important choice of all has not changed. That choice concerns what is most important for your life and destiny. As Christians, we look to the Word of God for guidance and clarity, about how we are to live our lives. Our relationship with the God who created and sustains us, is through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. The teachings, and what we discern as “Kingdom principles” Jesus gives us, will lead us through life and to eternity. Becoming a “committed follower” of Jesus means we must be willing to follow Him wherever He leads us. Today, we are lead through His teachings and by His spirit. On several occasions in the Gospels, we read about people who enthusiastically decided they would follow Him. On an occasion, one man said He would follow Jesus “wherever.” Jesus responded by testing the man’s commitment. Jesus told the man, His life was itinerant, and He was homeless. If the man followed Jesus, he would have to encounter some difficult conditions. There is no record of the man ever following through with his verbal commitment to Jesus (cf. Luke 9:57-58, NLT). In his helpful book, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman explains: “It’s much easier to speak about following Jesus when you are making a general statement without any specific commitments. But the most obvious and basic definition of following Jesus will mean making some significant life changes.” In addition to the Twelve, Jesus had other disciples who followed Him. Jesus challenged them all, about their sincerity and commitment to Him, and their belief in His teachings. Because many of those disciples were not fully committed to Jesus, they left Him (cf. John 6:63-68, NLT). One does not have to be a flawless person to follow Jesus; but everyone who is truly a follower, must be committed. Jesus invited Simon Peter and Andrew to follow Him. He told them their work would no longer be with fish; but with reaching people. They gave up their livelihood and followed Jesus without any hesitation (c. Matthew 4:18-20, NLT). Following Jesus wherever, will often take us to places along our journey which will be challenging. However, we should never forget with whom, and for whom, we are making the journey. A true follower of Jesus learns the meaning and value of “sacrifice.” There is no sacrifice in life we can make with Christ, for which there is no reward. Wherever means to be all in!
Committed At All Times, 2 – The ministry of Jesus was preceded by the charismatic ministry of John the Baptist. When Jesus began His ministry, there were some who followed Him, but they often referred to John’s message. John taught a message of repentance. He urged people to repent their sins and return to God. John’s message was appropriate for its time. Jesus brought a message of salvation. However, John warned his audiences that he was sent, as Isaiah had prophesied, “to prepare the way for the Messiah.” It seems possible that the strong warning of Jesus to some of the disciples was in response to their wavering attitude toward His teachings. Jesus told them the Scriptures they searched spoke of Him, who is the only One who can give [abundant and eternal] life (cf. John 5:36-40, NLT). A failure to follow Jesus wherever He leads, often is attributable to a failure to engage in fellowship with the Lord through His Word. Similarly, people often put the urgency of material things before God. We can add to this sense of urgency; friends, people, pleasure interests: and personal ambitions devoid of any discernment from God. There is a sense of shame or apathy for the call of commitment to Christ, because such devotion may restrict the person’s ability to accomplish what they’re pursing (c. Luke 9:25-26, NLT). Kyle Idleman says, “Whenever we are afraid of what a commitment will lead to, our instinctual response is to say no. Fear always asks the question, “What if?” While it is human to ask questions; faith helps us understand and act on those questions with a desire and resolve to follow the Lord’s plan. Rather than being ashamed of, as Peter says, “bearing the Name of Christ, we should actively strive to become an example of His love, forgiveness, and compassion. Jesus said we are as “salt” and “light” in the world. We can give what is useful, and shed light and direction in obscure corners of life (cf. Matthew 5:13a;14-16, NLT). A committed follower of Jesus will inevitably, walk where Jesus traveled: among those who seek Him; those who are adverse toward Him; the sick; homeless; depressed; lonely; and others who are more fans than followers. There isn’t any place we could ever go; committed to Jesus, where He is not present for us!
What We Believe!
“A committed follower of Jesus will go wherever!”
1. Fans often seek conditions for their commitment.
2. There is evidence of a true follower’s commitment to Christ!
Luke 9:57-58, NLT
“As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “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.”
John 6:63-68, NLT
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe me.”(But Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and He knew who would betray Him). Then He said, “That is why I said people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” At that point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
Matthew 4:18-20 NLT
“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He saw two brothers – Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew –throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed Him.”
John 5:36-40, NLT
“But I have a greater witness than John – my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. And the Father who sent me has testified about me Himself. You have never heard His voice nor seen Him face to face, and you do not have His message in your hearts, because you do not believe –the One He sent to you. You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. but the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.”
Luke 9:25-26, NLT
“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. But what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns to His glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”
Matthew 5:13a; 14-16, NLT
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” “You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”