© 2022Spring/Summer Series
Not A Fan... A Completely Committed Follower!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 6 Sept. 2022, Lesson 11
Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 11 (pp. 157-172)
Meeting Each Day’s Challenge – The Christian life is not to be lived occasionally. Each day we are called to live according to the teachings of our faith. In the Gospels, Jesus explains the spiritual principles and kingdom values that can shape our thoughts and behavior. Implicit in the teachings of Jesus is the idea that each day we are to sacrifice a part of ourselves, to experience more of His influence within us. Daily we are encouraged to live according to the spiritual values that Christ teaches. In order to do this, it means we must be willing to give up some aspects of our thinking and behavior, which are in conflict with what our Lord teaches. Jesus made this clear when He addressed a crowd; some of whom, wanted to know what was required to become a follower of the Lord (cf. Luke 9:23-24, NLT). Jesus required: (1) daily accountability; and (2), a willingness to make life choices, which meant “giving up” some things. Jesus was aware that taking these steps would prove difficult for some people. Human nature finds it hard to release some of the things in life we may feel give us a level of comfort or security. Jesus never said following him would eliminate all hardships; but He promised us, that we will have peace in our hearts in knowing, as He would overcome the world, so would we (cf. John 16:33, NLT). We are more than spectators watching life’s struggles; we, unlike fans, are on the field of life, facing our trials, and experiencing peace and joy. The Apostle Paul told his son in the faith, Timothy, that a life of godliness will include some persecution; but when we remain faithful to the principles and Christian values we’ve been taught, we can meet and overcome every challenge (cf. 2 Timothy 3:12;14, NLT). This truth also is taught by the Apostle Peter to the persecuted Christians who were being harassed by Roman authorities (cf. I Peter 1:6-7. NLT). Peter reminds Christians that the trials we face are “temporary.” Being a committed follower of Jesus Christ is knowing that there is, as Peter says, “wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while…” As humans we are wired to detest suffering and death. In his book, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman says, the very idea of taking up a cross to many in the crowds Jesus spoke to “would have been offensive and repulsive.” This was because the cross was an instrument of execution for wrong-doing; and was an onerous symbol of death. However, Jesus wanted persons who followed Him to realize that while there were costs involved; the rewards were greater than the costs of suffering. Peter said our “faith must remain strong through many trials, for this will bring much praise, and glory, and honor.” Followers know!
Meeting Each Day’s Challenge 2 – While challenges in life are real and certain; the life we have in faith will survive all challenges. Peter said Christians have been born to a life that is more assured than our temporal existence. He says the word of God assures us of our eternal nature during, and beyond this life (cf. I Peter 1:23-25, NLT). The Lord assures us that eternity begins in this life with our belief in Him. Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” (Cf. John 6:47, NLT). The verb has in most Greek translations is in the perfect tense, and means “to be in possession of.” This encouragement comes from what Peter calls “the eternal living word of God.” Christians do not have to be unnecessarily stressed or depressed when we’re challenged by others. Peter says we should have a sense of inner calm (“be happy or content”), even when we are wrongly judged or attacked. Provided we have not committed any moral offenses or harm to others, there is no shame on our part when others treat us unkind (cf. I Peter 4:14-16, NLT). The intent of these scriptures is not to encourage us to be willing objects of abuse. Rather, the purpose is to let us know that in spite of challenges, we should have confidence and joy in bearing the name of Christ in this world. To be a committed follower of Christ also, is to be liberated from our “comfort zones.” Fans expect to be in an environment that gives them exactly what they feel they want to see and hear. Pastor Kyle Idleman refers to this as Snuggle Theology. He says there are churches and pastors who provide people with only what they want to hear; much of which, speaks more of comfort than it does the meaning of the cross, and its power of redemption and reconciliation. Idleman comments: “The Snuggle Theology promises health and wealth [exclusively] to all who follow Jesus. [Seldom] do they mention the cross. They promise you luxury [items], property, and [profligate] wealth. They preach from the Bible, but they leave certain important parts out. The consequences of this theology become apparentwhen a person’s health fails and their finances fall apart. They begin to question God, because the Gospel presented to them makes them feel God didn’t keep His end of the bargain.” (Slightly paraphrased). Jesus does not give us a Gospel where bargains can be made! He tells us, “Here on earth you will have trials…” But Jesus assures us that such trials will be overcome. Paul identifies some of these trials, but he reminds us than none of these challenges can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. A committed follower of Jesus Christ triumphs over every trial; and turns every test into a testimony. We are more than conquerors through Him!
__________________________KEY IDEA __________________________
What We Believe!“
A fan wants comfort. A follower endures suffering!
1. Nothing adverse can ever separate us from the love of God!
__________________________KEY VERSES __________________________
Luke 9:23-24, 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.”
John 16:33, NLT
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
2 Timothy 3:12; 14 NLT
“Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.…But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.”
I Peter 1:6-7, NLT
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
I Peter 1:23-25, NLT
“For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass, their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.”
I Peter 4:14-16, NLT
“So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name!
Romans 8:35-38, NLT
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons. Neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.