Following Christ

Photo by Priyanshi Garg: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-trekking-following-a-trail-14970832/

This morning we will go to Luke chapter 9:

Luke 9:57-62 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

No one has ever been as misunderstood as the Lord Jesus is. One of the reasons Jesus is misunderstood is because Satan is battling against His Kingdom message. I was thinking about wars and thought, “What war has cost the greatest number of American lives?” It wasn’t World War I, the war to “end all wars”, or World War II. The war that caused the greatest number of deaths in America was the American Civil War. This war cost us 620,000 soldier’s lives, whereas World War II cost 405,399 military deaths. Those are horrible wars, and tragic deaths.

There is another war waging, a war between the Kingdom of God and the darkness of Satan. This is a war for the minds of people. The darkness redefines words, changes meaning, and does whatever it can do to confuse and enslave us to sin. Five black police officers recently were charged with murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct, and oppression in Memphis, beating a black man named Tyre Nichols to death. The officers knew they were wearing body cams, and knew they were being recorded. This is not the first time this has happened. Over and over we see more and more disregard for life – even among the police. The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is not “Pride Month”, or some special program by the Federal Government.

We need to get back to God.
We need to get back to what is important.
God is the Author of Life.
And God establishes what is GOOD and EVIL.

The government can tell you what is “legal” and “illegal”, but the government does not establish good and evil. God does.

Why Did Jesus Come?

Why did God the Father send God the Son to this earth? Did Jesus come to erase the Law of God – that which God has said is good and evil? No, He didn’t. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:17 (ESV) Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

The Lawand the “Prophets is what the Jews called the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, God prophesied that the Messiah would come and lead His people to a right way of life. God called this a “New Covenant”. God said,

Hebrews 8:8 … Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah …10 I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people

When Jesus prepared to go to the Cross, He said of His upcoming Cross THIS is MY BLOOD OF THE NEW (COVENANT), which is SHED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS. Jesus did not come to allow us to sin more and reject God more.

Jesus came to FREE US FROM SIN and to BIND US TO LOVE.

Jesus came to heal us of our sin and confusion. He came to bring us to God. When we become self absorbed, making life about ourselves, we not only violate the Command of God, but we do evil. Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37-40 … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus said we are to love God with ALL OUR HEART. God is to be first in our emotions. We are to love God with ALL OUR SOUL. I’m supposed to love Him MORE than I love ME. We are to love God with ALL OUR MIND. Regardless as to what MY reason may say, I love God more. Why is this so important? Because the farther you get away from God, the more awful your life gets.

Illustrate: I was reading where Actor Paul Newman bragged in a book written about him as to how his year long love affair with Joanne Woodward, “Betraying my marital vows to [my wife] Jackie [and children] seemed insignificant”.

He justified the evil that he did based on the satisfaction he had of his lusts. When we drift away from God, it isn’t long before we become monstrous. When I was reading in the Old Testament the other day about the Battle of Jericho, God promised ONE PERSON – a Harlot named Rahab and her family – that they could live. Why? Because Rahab turned to God in love, and looked after God’s “spies”. But what did God say of the rest of Jericho?

Joshua 6:17, (ESV) … the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live … 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.

When many read those words, they try and “justify” what God did that day. May I say that we do not justify God, nor does God answer to us. I firmly believe the Scripture that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). I believe Jericho got so far away from God that, in the horrible grip of sin, God said “I want that nation gone”.

Jesus came to be the cure for sin.

Luke 9:1-2 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Disease, devils, and sickness are the side effects of sin. Sin entered the world, and brought death and destruction with it. Jesus came to this earth to show us the love of God. Jesus often said, he that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Jesus Christ is the King of His Kingdom, the King of the Kingdom of God. The Father said of the Son,

Hebrews 1:8-9 (ESV) … Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness…

Jesus came to defeat evil, to destroy sin, and to create a Kingdom of right thinking and right behavior.

Jesus sent out His disciples to invite others into His Kingdom – but none were forced into it. Jesus told them:

Luke 9:4-5 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. 5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

People have a choice. They can hear the call of Christ to His Kingdom and come – or they can refuse to receive Him. Jesus told His people, Whoever receives YOU, receives ME, and whoever receives ME receives the FATHER WHO SENT ME” (Matthew 10:40). Jesus told His disciples, “If they will not RECEIVE you and the message I have given, then leave there and shake the dust off your feet”. The way of salvation can only be found through Jesus. You must RECEIVE Him as He is. We are told in:

John 1:11-13 {Jesus} came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

When you RECEIVE {lambanō, take what He offers} Jesus, you receive all the benefits that come with Jesus. One commentary put it this way:

When we “receive” a package, we take it to ourselves. When a running back “receives” the football, he pulls it to himself and clings to it. When we “receive” Jesus, we take Him to ourselves and cling to the truth about Him. To receive Jesus as our Savior means we look to Him and Him alone as the One who forgives our sin, mends our relationship with God, and provides us entrance to heaven. To reject Him as Savior means we either don’t believe we need salvation or are looking to another deliverer. Scripture is plain, however, that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).”

Did Jesus Come To Make Us Prosperous?

There are several false preachers today who tell us that “Jesus came to make us rich and wealthy”. That’s not true. Jesus Christ came to make us GODLY, more like God and less like the lost. Once Jesus proved Himself to be “The Christ of God (Luke 9:20), He told His disciples that:

Luke 9:22 … The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite nickname for Himself. He is referred to as “Son of Man” 88 times in the New Testament. In Daniel 7:13, the Prophet saw the Messiah, Whom he called the “Son of Man”, come from Heaven to earth. Why did Jesus Christ the “Son of Man” come to this earth?

The Son of Man came to forgive sin (Matthew 9:6).
The Son of Man came to be our Sabbath rest (Mark 2:28).
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
The Son of Man came to pay for our sins (Luke 9:22).
The Son of Man laid His life down for us, and tells us to do the same for one another.

The Son of Man came calling sons of men to His side. He came to show us the way that God means life to be. Jesus said:

Luke 9:23-25 And {Jesus} said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Dear friends, do not believe that you can hold on to your old life and be saved. Jesus calls us into a RADICAL RELATIONSHIP with Him. Salvation occurs when we:

DENY ourselves
TAKE UP the CROSS DAILY
and FOLLOW JESUS

If you’re one of God’s sheep, you belong with the Shepherd. Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd (John 10:10-11). When Jesus laid His life down for us, He showed us what love looks like. Love is self sacrificial. Love does not embrace sin. It embraces God. The Prosperity that Jesus offers us is not full bank accounts, good health, and the best foods.

The Prosperity that Jesus offers us is peace with God, and union with others in the family of God. We are promised Heaven. We are promised love. We are promised to be like Jesus.

Luke 9:57-58 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (58) And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

This is a very interesting passage. In this day of mega-Churches and “Seeker Sensitive” Churches where the most important thing is to get “nickles and noses”, what Jesus said sounds strange. “Lord, I’ll follow you”. Will you?

Will you follow Jesus when the world hates you?
Will you stand with Jesus, and declare the Scripture true?
When they call you”homophobic” or “demon possessed”,

will you walk with Him?
Or will you sleep soundly in Gethsemane?
Or hide in the crowd while He’s being nailed to the Cross?

Jesus gave up EVERYTHING in order to save us and to bring us to God.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: … 17 … if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Before you can be saved, you must be lost. If you come to Jesus lost, He will guide you to where life is – in self sacrifice and love.

ILLUSTRATE A little boy had come forward at the end of a worship service, professing to have been saved. The preacher sat down with the parents and the child to make sure he understood what he was doing. The preacher asked the child, “How do you know that you’re saved?” The little boy replied, “I know because I did my part, and the Lord Jesus did His part”. The preacher said, “Can you explain what you mean by that?” The little boy said, “Sure! I did all the sinning, and the Lord Jesus did all the saving!” That is an excellent description of salvation. We are all sinners, all lost, all unable to fix this terrible condition we’re in. My salvation is not based upon what I did, but on what God must do. The Scripture says “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). Oh how God loves you and I! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8)”.

I have no choice but to follow Him. Without Him I have no hope. So I will follow Him, though none go with me. Adrian Rogers once said, “Americans are by and large, proud peacocks strutting their way to hell”!

Billy Graham wrote before his departure from this earth:

In every newspaper or magazine that we pick up, and in every newscast that we watch, we see a picture of hate and lust and greed and prejudice and corruption—manifested in a thousand ways. The fact that we have police and jails and military forces indicates that something is radically wrong with human nature. The Bible teaches that the human race is morally sick. This disease has affected every phase of our life in society. The Bible calls this disease by an ugly, three-letter word: sin. The Bible teaches that the only cure for sin is the blood that Christ shed on the cross. Christ became the Lamb of God who bled and died on the cross for our sins.”

This is not a popular truth in the progressive madness of our day. Beloved, if Jesus was hated, we who are His will be hated. He said:

Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head

The Bible doesn’t say whether the man followed or not. Beloved, I MUST follow. Life is tough, but without Jesus life will be unbearable. If you follow Jesus, rarely does it lead to the PENTHOUSE, but usually to the PRISON. If you follow Jesus there will be few CHEERS, but many JEERS. But bear in mind you will never have the CROWN unless you first have the CROSS.

The Saved Must Put The Shepherd First

Luke 9:59-60 And {Jesus} said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

For years I misunderstood this text. It seemed to me that the second man asked a quite reasonable request. You see, Jesus commanded him “Follow Me”, but this man said “I’ll follow You Lord, but let me first go and bury my father”. I was researching this text when I came across a commentary by G. Campbell Morgan, a great Bible Teacher of the nineteenth century. Dr. Morgan said that a friend of his was trying to get a young Arab to come with him to be an interpreter as he preached in Arabia. Dr. Morgan said:

At last the Arab looked at him, and said, “Suffer me first to go and bury my father,” in the very words of Scripture; and the old man was sitting by his side when he uttered them. What he meant was, “I have a filial obligation that prevents my coming.” (Westminister Pulpit, Volume IV, pg 164) The father wasn’t dead, but the man refused to go with Jesus because – perhaps as the older son – he had an obligation to his father’s house. He wanted to remain with his parents until his father died.”

Jesus expects us to put Him first. This should be no surprise. As the GREAT COMMANDMENT is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:36), and as Jesus Christ is GOD THE SON, then we are to put Him first. Jesus said:

Luke 14:26-27, 33 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. … 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Your greatest treasure is to be Jesus. We are to put Him first, and everything else second. But here’s the interesting truth: When you put Jesus first, following Him first, then you will become BETTER. You will be a BETTER husband if Jesus is first. You will be a BRAVER man if Jesus is first. Your live will be BOLDER. You will hold others in greater esteem.

There are so many good things that we can and should do. But we must never let a good thing keep us from doing the best thing. The best thing is to follow Christ, preaching by your life the Kingdom of God!

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God must be preached! God’s people must stand with and follow the Lord Jesus. The best thing you can do for your children is to put Christ first, to tell them of Jesus, to call them to salvation. The best thing you can do for your aged parents is to tell them that Jesus Christ died for their justification, and rose again for their sanctification. The best thing you can do for your job is to tell those you work with that you are a Christ follower, not a world compromiser. America has fallen because the Church has fallen, and the Church has fallen because the Christian has fallen.

The Gospel is the flag of the Church, and it flies proudly over the Kingdom of God. We who belong to Jesus must put Jesus first for our own sakes, and for the sakes of those we love. His Kingdom must take precedent, or we will lose America – and all we hold dear!

Do Not Allow The Enemy To Turn Your Attention
To The Dark Rear

Luke 9:61-62 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. (62) And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Sherry laughs at me while I watch “scary” movies. You know the kind. The killer is coming, and you know he’s coming because of the eerie music. Then they start running, and as they run, they look backwards … and inevitably FALL DOWN. And the monster gets them.

If you are saved, don’t look back. Look at Jesus. Imitate Jesus. Follow Jesus. He is your Guide in life and into eternity.

Illustrate:A missionary group wanted to go to the Far East, but had never been to the area they wanted to visit. So they made an arrangement with a reputable, well known guide. When they arrived at the train station the guide told them, “Give me everything: Your luggage, your purses, your wallets, your passports. Hold nothing back.” Some of the women in the group wanted to keep their purses. The guide said, “Your possessions are far more secure with me, and you’ll be far safer without these possessions – we will be in some rough territory.” The guide took their possessions, and left them so he could secure their luggage. A train came in, and all the missionaries got on it. The guide came up and said, “Will you please come out of there?” Once out of the train, the guide said “This is the wrong train, headed in the wrong direction. Will you please be kind enough to not go before me, but follow after me?”

We get in trouble when we get ahead of our Guide. Jesus Christ is our Guide. He is our Savior, our Lord. We are to follow Him, and to read His Word daily. What God has said, we will cling to. The devil will call us to compromise, but that is the way of destruction. Don’t look back. Look up. Look to Him Who alone knows the way. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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