Bible Study Notes 9/20/22
Spring/Late Summer Series
Not A Fan... A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 20 Sept. 2022, Lesson 13
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 13 (pp. 189-197)
Not Whenever, But Now - Becoming a committed follower of Jesus involves a deep sense of urgency within. Jesus freely invites us to accept Him in faith. Our coming to Jesus is neither designated for a specific time in life; nor is it contingent upon our getting other accomplishments or unresolves issues behind us. Jesus does not expect perfection when we come to Him; but He accepts us the way we are. We could never be complete enough. Yet, Jesus brings us into relationship with Him by faith, so that we can become transformed into a new person. The relationship we have with Christ is a marvelous work of grace. Because Jesus is intentional in His love for us, we should be intentional in our commitment to, and love for, Him. What we see in the scriptures is a genuine sense of urgency that’s necessary in becoming a follower of Christ. The scripture reveals a life in Christ should not be predicated on “whenever” we think our lives are right enough, but the call is for “now.” In the scriptures, everyone Jesus invited to become a committed follower did not see the urgency is coming right away. Luke provides several instances where people said they wanted to follow Jesus, only to give excuses, which inevitably cancelled their commitment. The excuses given may, on the surface, seem legitimate. However, a closer examination of the reasons people gave to abandon their commitments all had flaws. One man eagerly told Jesus; he would follow Him, but he immediately excused himself on the premise that he had to go and bury his father. In that culture, it was most unlikely that the man would have left a grieving family in the first instance. The inference in the verse is that the man wanted to go and make burial arrangements, which was not an elaborate process in the Jewish culture of Jesus’ time. Likely, the father was not dead, but aging. (Cf. Luke 9:59-60, NLT). Another man also promised to follow Jesus, but was reluctant to leave his family. A family’s influence was very strong in that culture. Once he left, the man would never return. This story also emphasizes the importance, and the urgent demands, to be sincere in becoming a committed follower of Jesus (cf. Luke 9:61-62, NLT; cp. I Kings 19:19-20, NLT). Jesus also gave a parable about commitment to His Kingdom. In the parable, several people who were invited to a special banquet and committed themselves to coming, reneged on the invitation; each having an insincere excuse. The host was incensed, but he then opened the banquet to many others who eagerly came (cf. Luke 14:16-24, NLT). Jesus invites us all to come to His kingdom, regardless of status, wealth, race, or any other factors. Excuses are not welcome!
Not Whenever, But Now, Part 2 – While it is true, Jesus expects all who follow Him to have a sense of urgency and expectancy; there are some who follow Jesus in what Kyle Idleman calls “a half-hearted way.” Some Christians promise themselves that at a certain time they will become committed as they should. In his book, Not A Fan, Idleman offers this wise perspective: “On the invitation Jesus gives us to follow him there is an RSVP date and it reads: TODAY. The word tomorrow is not in the Holy Spirit’s vocabulary. When Jesus calls us to follow, he means right now. He means today.” Delays can turn into procrastination. The latter word, taken from the Latin, means literally “to put off until tomorrow.” The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said in one of his sermons, “Procrastination is the ultimate thief of time.” Dr. King spoke of this in relation to people willfully delaying their personal and moral obligations to do what is right and just. In Paul’s great defense before King Agrippa, the Apostle was aware that the King knew about Jesus, but he urged Him to accept Jesus as Lord. King Agrippa could not bring himself to become a committed follower of Christ, and suggested the time was too soon, if ever (cf. Acts 26:27-29, NLT). For King Agrippa then, and many people today; none of us has propriety over our time. A significant portion of David’s prayer to the Lord in Psalm 31:15 reads, “My future is in your hand…” NLT. Elsewhere, David prophesied that the time God would invite us to have true spiritual peace would be in the present; and present-acknowledgment of Jesus as Savior and Lord (cf. Hebrews 4:6-7, NLT). There is no other time to know Christ and to become completely committed to Him, but today. David said, “If you would only listen to His voice today. Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did in the days at Meribah, and they did at Massah in the wilderness.” (Psalm 95:7c-8, NLT). We must be spiritually alert and prepared to follow the Lamb of God. Developing intimacy and fellowship with Christ will prepare us to be ready to follow Him in Christian service. We must remain diligent as we do His will. The parable of the bridesmaids illustrates the importance of “readiness;” and what it is to be fully committed to the Lord. We must be with Him!
__________________________KEY IDEA __________________________
What We Believe!
“There is a definite urgency in responding to Jesus!”
1. Excuses often are delays, that can become habitual.
2. Following Jesus is more “now” than “whenever!
__________________________KEY VERSES __________________________
Luke 9:59-60, NLT
“He said to another person, ‘Come follow me.’ The man agreed, but he said, ‘Lord let me first 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 the Kingdom of God.’”
Luke 9:61-62, NLT
“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 for the Kingdom of God.’”
Luke 14:16-24 NLT
“Jesus replied with this story: ‘A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have a wife so I can’t come.’ The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant did this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”
Acts 26:27-29, NLT
“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do -” Agrippa interrupted him, “Do you think you could persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?” Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”
Hebrews 4:6-7, NLT
“So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering His rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts.”
Matthew 25:7-13, NLT
“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five [unprepared] ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ But the other replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord!
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