Follow (Week 2): Jesus Followed Someone, Too!

KEY VERSES:  Mark 1:17 & 1 John 2:6   Big Word #2 is “FOLLOW!” Last week, I introduced the image of the children’s game, “follow the leader.” Who are we to follow? To whose invitation are we responding?

  • A pastor, a worship leader, a personality or a style…
  • A group of friends… A cultural (tribal) pressure…
  • A denomination or brand loyalty… Family and tradition…
  • A cause to champion… A bandwagon to jump on…

We are invited to FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST! Listen to Jesus’ invitation to FOLLOW:   “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men'” (Mark 1:17)  

What does it look like to follow Jesus?

 
Jesus invites us to become His disciple/apprentice/learner. Jesus’ call to those original fishermen was pretty obvious. Jesus stood there and looked them in the eyes… in response they dropped their nets and followed Jesus, meaning they walked where He walked, learned what He taught, ate what He ate, and tried to do what He did. A disciple is a person who FOLLOWS Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior.
 
We see this clearly taught by John in 1 John 2:6, “By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:5b, 6).  
 
To follow is to be on a journey with Jesus, on step at a time. In the church, we call this discipleship. Discipleship is simply the process of becoming… of being under construction… Discipleship is a life-long journey of a person following Jesus to become more and more like Jesus Christ from the inside out. The invitation of Jesus Christ is to “Follow Me” and the promise of Jesus is that He will transform us along the way.
 
Following Jesus comes with the promise of the Holy Spirit! When we follow Jesus, Jesus promises supernatural results. Paul says in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Again, Paul says in Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” When you FOLLOW Jesus, the Holy Spirit works in you for you to become the best version of you to God’s glory!
 
We are to walk like Jesus walked and one of the most overlooked realities of Jesus’s life is that Jesus followed Someone, too! Jesus actually says that He only says what He hears His Father saying and only does what He sees His Father doing. This is amazing, but listen to what a great follower Jesus was:
 
Jesus states in John 5:19, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”  
 
Again, Jesus states in John 12:49-50, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”  
 

Jesus clearly followed Someone, too!

 
When I went to West Point, I learned the #1 rule of leadership over a hard and long year as a plebe. Here is the #1 rule of good leadership—a good leader must first learn to be a good follower! You will never be a good leader until you are a good follower!
 
Good pastors and elders are followers first! Good spouses are servants first! Good teachers are students first!
 
Does your life glorify God? Then be a great follower, like Jesus! Follow Jesus as Jesus followed His Father… Jesus was able to say at the end of His life in John 17:4, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”
 
Jesus modeled this, but so many people miss this simple truth of discipleship… Jesus clearly followed Someone, so we must too! In fact, Jesus says that if we follow Him as He followed the Father, then God would use us in amazing ways. In the context of Jesus promising to give us the Holy Spirit to empower us to follow Him, Jesus says something shocking in John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”
 
You don’t have to do something big, to do something great! The work of God in us and through us is in the little things we do. It’s not about success, it’s all about faithfulness to do and say what Jesus did and said. Let’s look at how this works in everyday real ways. It’s like playing follow the leader…  
 

FOLLOW JESUS IN YOUR THOUGHT LIFE!

 
Are you winning the battlefield of the mind? [Picture] Jesus said in John 14:26-27, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
 
Do you see every crisis as an opportunity by having the right perspective? Do you tell God how big your storms are or are you telling your storms how big your God is? When fear, anxiety, or temptation grip your mind, how are you replacing the lies of the devil with the truths of God?
 

FOLLOW JESUS WITH YOUR HEART LOYALTIES!

 
Is your heart free to love and to be generous? [Pictures] Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, 24, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. …No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
 
Do you find your identity in your stuff or in how you look or in what you do? Does your stuff own you? Is your lifestyle dictating your day and robbing you of the abundant life you so deeply desire? Do you feel stuck and powerless? Are you worried about what tomorrow may bring or about the future?
 

FOLLOW JESUS IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS!

 
Are you the loving and forgiving person you desire to be? [Pictures] Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:43-45, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
 
How do you respond to someone who is mean to you? How do you respond to someone who cuts you in line at the store or cuts you off on the road? How do you respond to a coach or ref when they make a decision you don’t agree with? How do you love your parent, spouse, child or grandchild when they do something or say something you don’t agree with? Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you angry, spiteful, or vengeful?
 
Whether it is an issue of your mind, heart, body… Whether it is a situation at work, in your family, in the church, or at our favorite restaurant… Whatever it is, being a Christian comes down to this one simple reality: FOLLOW! Be a good follower of Jesus Christ! In the same way that Jesus followed His Father and only said what He said and only did what He did, we must do the same. It is then and only then that we will be able to join with Jesus in saying that God has been glorified by our lives by us doing the work He gave us to do.
 
The pressure is off of you… You are invited to FOLLOW Jesus! The burden is on God to transform you, to work in you, to bring you to completion. JUST FOLLOW!
 
Allow me to close today’s message by praying over you the prayer of Paul to the disciples in Ephesus, found in Ephesians 3:14-21, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

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