To Follow Jesus

To Follow Jesus

Scripture Reading

 

Matthew 10:32-39 NKJV

(32) “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men,

him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.

(33) But whoever denies Me before men,

him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

(34) “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.

I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

(35) For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,

and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;

(36) and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

(37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.

And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

(38) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

(39) He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

 

  • TEXT VERSE:

 

Matthew 10:38 AB

And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me

[cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and,

if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.

 

Mattheus 10:38 ANV

Hy wat nie sy kruis opneem en My volg nie, is nie werd om aan My te behoort nie.

 

  • CHURCH FAMILY:

 

In the New Testament narrative of the formation of the church, we see that those who were converted were added to the church family. They became part of the body of Christ through relationship with Christ and God ordained relationship with their spiritual family.

 

Today it is estimated that only about 5% of those who “make a decision for Christ” are added to the church through God ordained relationships! Most converts are lost to the world again while a great number never really connect through lasting God ordained relationships. It is also true that a great number of new members in churches just move from one church to another, and are never really rooted in lasting relationships. Can we really call this the fulfilling of the Great Commission? What has caused this slide from all who confess Jesus as Lord and savior, and then join a church or join a church for a while, to just one out of every twenty? Can those who are not really joined to a church through God ordained relationships even really be called disciples if we are going to comply with the Biblical definition of that word?

 

1 Corinthians 4:14-15 NLT

(14) I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children.

(15) For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ,

you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus

when I preached the Good News to you.

 

We need to understand that the church is supposed to be like a family.

The most important is the God ordained relationships in this family.

We are part of the family of Love and Faith, whether we like or dislike one another!

We have responsibilities toward one another that must be discharged in the love of God.

We may wilfully fail to live up to our commitment and rebel against Christ!

Our rebellion does not abolish our commitment. It will be there as long as we live!

We need to please God, not ourselves or other people!

 

  • GOD PLEASER OR PEOPLE PLEASER:

 

A primary factor that keeps us from fulfilling our calling is the tendency to stay in our comfort zones. We want to relate to those, whom we feel most comfortable with,

or those whom we are the most like, in our flesh. Then we are starting to please men

and not God. This is when we start to compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the process of Disciple making, as instructed by Christ.

 

All of us must make the choice on a daily basis to please God and not people.

We must acknowledge God and His Word on a daily basis.

 

Matthew 10:32-34 NIV

(32) “Whoever acknowledges me before others,

I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

(33) But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

 

We as the Church, the family of believers must put Christ and His principles first.

We apply the Word of God to establish Godly values in our lives.

It is however more important to allow the principles found in the Word of God

to guide us how to live our values in a way that is pleasing to God!

Who of you know that I can apply my values based on God’s Word,

in a way that is not pleasing to God?

 

If – for example – your spiritual family is a value in your life and you really do everything in your power to spent more time with your brothers and sisters in Christ,

to such an extent that you compromise your relationship with God and your biological family, it means that your priorities are wrong and not in line with

the will of God. Then it is not to the honour of God. You are not pleasing God!

 

  • THE FLESH VERSES THE SPIRIT:

 

Our first priority as children of God should always be our relationship with God,

to know God, to know His will and to do His will.

 

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV

(21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,

but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

(22) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

(23) And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;

depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

 

We should always please God, whatever the consequences to our country,

our communities or even our church and our families!

 

Romans 8:6-8 NLT

(6) So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.

But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

(7) For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.

It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.

(8) That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature

can never please God.

 

We must always remember that God is Spirit.

The works of the devil is the works of the flesh and it leads to death.

We cannot make decisions in our families or in our spiritual family, the church,

based on the flesh. As we saw earlier, a good decision is not always a quality decision.

We see in this scripture that the flesh is against God, an enemy of God and when we are operating like that in our families and in the church we are actually enemies of God!

Then we are not building the kingdom of God, we are building our own kingdom.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT (The Dangers of the Last Days)

(1) You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.

(2) For people will love only themselves and their money.

They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents,

and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.

(3) They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others

and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.

 

(4) They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride,

and love pleasure rather than God.

(5) They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

 

Some want to control what happens in the church, in their families, their marriages,

the lives of their children, their finances etc. When this is true, God is not in control, we are in control and we want to dictate to God how to run His kingdom! That is a control spirit and it is not from God! It is a rebellious spirit and it will ultimately cause a lot of damage. This is because what is built on selfish ambition and the strength of the flesh will have to be maintained by the flesh. We need to understand and accept as the church that discipleship means forsaking all selfish and fleshly personal ambition.

 

So, what happens when our priorities in our families and our spiritual family

are not in place according to the principles found in the Word of God?

 

Deut 4:24 AB

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

 

  • FAMILY ORDER AND CHURCH ORDER:

 

(First read scripture reading – NKJV – Mat 10:34-38)

 

Mat 10:34-38 MSG

(34)  “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut

(35)  make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother,

bride and mother-in-law

cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God.

(36)  Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies.

(37)  If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me.

If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.

(38)  “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me.

 

Jesus does not attack family relations here, but indicates that no earthly or fleshly tie however intimate should distract from aggressive loyalty to Him.

This loyalty may even result in certain family members being shunned by others.

 

Always remember, important as the family is, if unity in the family can only exist

at the expense of its members loyalty to Jesus Christ and the obedience of His Word, then the good has become the enemy of the best!

 

We need to recognize and anticipate that personal discipleship and total commitment to Christ may result in division and rejection, even in families!

There must be no compromise when it comes to pleasing God.

We must remember that it is God’s will that there be harmony and unity in the family,

but never if it is not in line with His Word and His will!

That is when we compromise the Word of God and His principles

in order to please people instead of God.

 

Gal 1:10 AB

Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).

 

God created certain institutions to work – not to fall apart.

The family is one of His institutions, created by Him to be ruled by His principles!

Sometimes a structure has been so undermined that it needs to be pulled apart

and rebuilt before it can stand and be to the glory of God.

The family is a very important part of the church.

In pleasing God as the church, we need to please God as the family!

The husband and father, the wife and mother and the children must please God

and allow Him to be in control without manipulating and intimidating one another.

 

The husband must love his wife as Christ love the church,

The wife must submit to her own husband, as to the Lord

and children must obey and honour their parents.

 

This must always be done in a God pleasing way!

We can compare the family to a small church with the husband and father as the Pastor.

We read in the Bible what God expects from mature men in the church:

 

1Tit 3:4-5 AB

(4)  He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control,

with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful.

(5)  For if a man does not know how to rule his own household,

how is he to take care of the church of God?

 

  • LET US TAKE UP OUR CROSS:

 

Mat 10:38 MSG

“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me.

 

Mat 10:38 AB

And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me

[cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and,

if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.

 

The cross is an instrument of death, symbolizing here not the bearing of any particular burden or distress, but a willingness to give one’s life sacrificially for Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

2 Timothy 3:10-14 NLT

(12) Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

(13) But evil people and impostors will flourish.

They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.

(14) 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.

 

We must know that every true disciple must take up his or her cross.

The kingdom of God demands our highest commitment.

The kingdom of God is worth more than any other pursuit.

We must be ready to forsake anything that hinders us from entering into it.

We must know for certain that Jesus calls us to be more loyal to Him

than to any other human being.

Discipleship means submitting my own interests in favour of God’s interests.

Share

Recent Sermons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.