Jesus said to Follow Him!

5 10 2012

At the bottom of every post I write I make it my aim to put some form of “Jesus said to follow Him”.  It seems so simple and obvious.  Yet, it seems not many understand it.

In the midst of Christianity there seems to be a sub-genre called Churchianity.  This is where people “play church”.  Church is their idea of being a Christian.  Whatever any speaker, preacher, or teacher says, that is what they do.  Whatever Focus on the Family agrees with, they agree with.  If a new movie or book comes out and it mentions a Bible verse or moral issue, whether it is out of context or not, they are all over it.  Fellowship is considered a Christian form of “hanging out”, even though conversation isn’t much different than talking with unbelievers.  “Worship” songs are often sung with passion without even understanding what messages are coming out of the songs.  (Some make Jesus into more of a boyfriend or lover instead of the God to be feared and the Lord (Master) who rules.)  Above all else, they cannot discern what is true from the Bible for themselves.  A pastor, bishop, shepherd, priest, etc. can say just about anything and the Churchians will listen, agree, and follow him (or, nowadays, maybe her) without truly digging in the Bible to make sure what the pastor says is right.

I have been in that place myself.  Then I came a point in time where I began questioning a lot of things that seem common among Christianity.  Many of those questions I have dealt with on this blog including the common Christian attitude toward gay marriage, making issues from the Bible that aren’t really there, making ourselves look better than we really are, and why there is not unity in the Church (the Body of Christ, not “church”).

We live in a culture (at least, in the United States) that is drowning in religious overtones.  In other words, there are plenty that are “Christians” or believe in a god or two, whoever they might be, but have no real understanding or way of life that backs up their profession.  While some Christians might freak out about someone being a Muslim, there are many who are Muslim in name only.  It can probably be said about any religion.  They go through the motions and “do their time” at church, synagogue, mosque, or other “place of worship”.  If I’m not mistaken, studies have shown that over half of the U.S. population say that they are “Christian”.  Yet, where are the fruits of that?  There is no fruit because, to most, it is just a name to call themselves.

Being a “Christian” is NOT a game, it is serious stuff.

That’s because God is serious.  He is not this fluffy grandfather deity that is just waiting for you to just “acknowledge” or “accept him into your heart” as is commonly portrayed.  He is a holy God.  He is your creator and has authority over you.  Yes, He is a just God as well, and as many as think it is not fair (which is oxymoronic because those that have that argument don’t understand fairness), He inflicts punishment for sin.  He has given rules to follow and everyone has broken them.  He makes it very clear what we deserve because of our rebellion and disobedience.  Yet, because of His love, compassion, mercy, grace, and kindness, He not only give us opportunity to live and enjoy life, but He also gives us what we need in life.  The very breath that we breathe we don’t deserve.   His ultimate gift was the gift of His Son Jesus, who opened up more of God’s ways to us.  He then walked innocently before God and gave His life for us.  When He went to the cross, it showed God was infinitely serious about sin and showed His infinite love for us.  At the cross, Jesus took upon Himself our sin and God punished Him in our place.  God CANNOT let sin go unpunished.  One cannot simply say “I’m sorry” or “forgive me” without a basis for that forgiveness.  Therefore, since God punished Christ on our behalf, there is a basis for that forgiveness.  That forgiveness is not automatic, though.  There are strings attached to that sin/forgiveness transaction.  It is not given to everybody who ever lived.  It is given to those that follow Jesus.  The Bible makes that very clear.

Being a Christian means you follow after Jesus, who is the promised Messiah to the Jews and the Savior to those who trust Him.  He is the one God promised in times past who would be innocent before God, take upon Himself our sins, and die in our place.  Being a Christian means you believe that and what the Bible says about Him.  You read or listen to what He says in the Bible and you strive to do it, asking for help knowing you can’t do it in your own power.  Being a Christian means you die to yourself, humble yourself, take up your cross, be willing to die for truth, live in a way that pleases and glorifies God, and follow after Christ.  Being a Cristian means that this world is not your home, you go against the natural flow of this world, you will be hated as they hated Christ, and that you keep going, not because people like you, but because of your trust in what God has said about it all.

Being a Christian also means that you are to love as God loves as described in the Bible.  That love isn’t necessarily an emotional feel-good love.  It is an action as described in 1 Corinthians 13.  You realize that you are a sinner just like everyone else.  Therefore, you love others, including homosexuals, abortionists, democrats, and everyone else, by treating them how you’d like to be treated if you were in their shoes without glossing over their sin.

Ultimately, being a Christian means you believe what the Bible says, old and new testaments.  If you don’t, then what is your basis of calling yourself a Christian?  The Bible is the foundation for which we believe who God is and what He says.  It is the ultimate source where we find truth because God IS truth.  All other sources of truth MUST have their basis on the correct understanding of God’s Word.  If it doesn’t, then the other sources are not truth.  If psychology or philosophy is mixed with God’s Word, they must agree with His Word.  They cannot change the meaning it.  God knows our psyche perfectly and tells us how we should live.  He did not forget to tell us anything.  We have His Word.  His Word is truth.

The Bible is where Jesus calls us to follow Him and be His disciples, that we may be forgiven of our offenses against God and be able to know Him, love Him, honor Him, and make Him known.  Yet, if we don’t know what He says, how can we ever know Him and know what pleases Him?  How can we know if what others say about Him is actually true?

Christian, if you have a Bible, the Word of God, it is essential that you get to know and understand it.  Do you want to please God?  God tells you how to in His Word.  Do you want to know how to act and react to others?  He tells you that too.  Do you not understand His Word?  He tells you what to do about it.

Before I get off into a million “rabbit trails”, let me make my point:  Do not take what your pastor, counselor, or any other Christian says for granted.  Their words are not truth.  God’s Word is truth and what they say MUST line up with it.  Their words do not become God’s truth, but must reflect His truth.  God is the one that established His Word and He is more than capable of giving you wisdom to understand it if you ask for it.  The Bible speak about God’s Word and His Spirit as being “spiritually understood”.  The natural man cannot understand it.  God is the One who gives wisdom and understanding.  Seek after it because then you will be able to discern between what is true and false.

May your heart be devoted to Christ and not to “church”.  Do not follow a pastor, bishop, etc., but follow Christ.  Do not take what others, including myself, say for granted as being true.  Judge them according to God’s Word.  His Word is truth!

Yes, I did just write a  long post about a few words I put at the end of my posts.  I feel I did a horrible job explaining what those few important words mean.  Sorry about that.  There probably will be a part two someday to give references to my claims.

Just remember, Jesus said to follow Him!!!