Monday, June 13, 2016

June 14, 2016

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." I Corinthians 1:1

This Summer we plan to commit ourselves to examining what Jesus had in mind when He issued the invitation to "Follow me!"

In yesterday's message I dealt with Jesus' call to follow and challenged FredWes folks to dive into the Gospels this Summer and rediscover the joy of the Gospel!

I found this quote from a Pastor named Ben Wikner on the issue of answering the call of Christ. We puts it this way, "When Jesus speaks about following Him, the more common word that Jesus uses combines the prefix indicating “union” and the word meaning “path or road”, which also means “voyage or journey”. So when Jesus says, “Follow me” he is saying “join me in my path, my journey.” It’s the idea of walking with Jesus, being near to him. It’s highly relational and communicative, but with the clear understanding that Jesus is the leader; he is setting the course. So what does it mean to follow Jesus? Following Jesus is…what being a Christian is all about (1) This is the most basic command; it encompasses all the others. If we follow: we love, forgive, serve, etc. To be a Christian is to be united to Christ, to walk with Him, to imitate him. a. If you boil down Christianity to it’s essence, it’s about Jesus. If you boil down the Christian life to its essential element, it’s about following Jesus. Everything else flows out of following Jesus. Do you want to simplify your Christian life? Follow Jesus. Do you want to live in God’s will? Follow Jesus. Do you want ultimate meaning and purpose? Then follow Jesus. (2) Our tendency is to want to live according to a list or by a set of rules. We can get so caught up trying to follow Christianity (the religion) that we forget to follow Christ. And when it’s about Christianity (religion, rules, and lists) more than about Christ (relationship, communion, and discipleship) we will focus on doing and not doing things, rather than on walking with Jesus. a. For example, consider our call to holiness. Holiness is good, even necessary. However, if holiness is understood through the lens of the religion of Christianity, it inevitably becomes about doing good things and not doing bad things. It becomes a checklist of rules through which we determine if we (and others) are living holy lives. This mindset breeds self-righteousness and self-condemnation. It leads to a spirit of judgment toward others. Because of this, the call to holiness will be undermined, even rejected, giving way to license – we are free in Jesus! b. We must not reject holiness, but rather, rule-centered religion. The right way for holiness and sanctification to flourish in our life is to follow Jesus – his way, his path – in growing our relationship with him. If we get this right, the Christian life follows."

Everyone follows someone and it is vitally important WHO you follow and HOW you follow because where you will spend eternity will be determined by the path you have chosen to follow.

Another fact that makes following very important is the reality at you are being followed by someone. John Maxwell's famous definition of leadership in "LEADERSHIP IS INFLUENCE." If you can identify those who  you have influence over you will know who will be learning from your example and following you. Maybe it is a child or a grandchild who is looking to you for leadership. 

Here are a couple of questions for you to consider today:

1) Am I following Christ?

2) Who is following me?

3) Am I able to say to them as Paul says, "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ?"