“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19

Last Sunday, we had the privilege to go to another church where Steve, a friend of mine, is the preacher.  He based his sermon off of the verse above.  He is doing a series of messages that includes looking intently into this verse.  He mentioned how last week as he was working through the topic of “Grace”, that he only covered one word: “Come”.  But he said he would do better this week, he would cover two words: “Follow me!”  That caused a ripple of laughter.

I was amazed though at how deep and broad of a message he was able to deliver from just studying these two words of Jesus.  I will not attempt to reproduce his sermon here, but rather, since I felt it was such a good message, I want to write down the key points that I remember.  I pray this would be a challenge and an encouragement for you.

To introduce the sermon, Steve reflected on the idea of what it meant to be a Christian.  He said that he, like many people, would answer the question of “So what religion are you?” with the answer, “I’m a Christian.”  But that does not say a whole lot, except to say that we have been identified into a specific category of humanity.  A much better answer, he said, would be to reply, “I’m a follower of Jesus”.  That says a lot more about how we life our lives, or as least ought to.

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Steve’s message had three main points to it.  When we follow Jesus, we will have real freedom, we will experience a great adventure, and we will live in a true relationship of trust.  Each one of these points were powerful reminders of what real Christianity ought to look like, and they pointed to the idea that these are realities that all people are seeking, but for the most part are finding their answers in the wrong places.

Take the first point: following Jesus gives real freedom.  Steve hit the nail right on the head when he said that all people are controlled by something, it’s just a question of what that is.  For example, if a person is worried about bills and debt, then he is controlled by money.  If a woman “flies” off the handle at every remark, then she is controlled by rage, and possibly by insecurity.

But when we let Jesus truly be our Lord, He then becomes our Master, but in reality He frees us from so many other things that would seek to enslave us.  We don’t have to worry about basic necessities of life, for He says, “Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these [other] things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)  And if we don’t know what to do when life gets hard, but in faith asks God for wisdom, He will grant it.  (James 1:5)  And so much more will be ours when we give the control of our lives over to God, for we are even now seated spiritually in heaven and its riches and blessings are ours when we are united with Christ.  (Ephesians 1:3-14 & 2:4-10)

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The second point of Steve’s message was that when we follow Jesus, we will live a life of adventure like we had never dreamed possible before.  That is certainly been true for me and Jill, as we have literally traveled around the world a few times as we followed His leading.  But even if a person who is a believer in Christ has never traveled much outside the region of the country they live in, living a life of faith is an adventure, since we are trusting God to meet us at our point of real need and to take care of us from day to day.

And that leads into Steve’s third point: following Jesus is possible to do because He is trustworthy.  Many people have let us down, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  But we can never doubt Jesus’ love for us, seeing as He willingly went to the cross to die for us.  So when He promises that He will send a Counselor to help us (John 14:15-31), and that He will never leave us, but will be with us always, (Matthew 28:20b), we know we can trust Him.

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And so the question is put out there for all of us to consider.  We who call ourselves “Christian”, are we actually following Jesus, allowing Him to be the Master of our lives, or are we “Christian” in name only?  In this great adventure of life that we are all in, are we placing our lives into the hands of the One and only Person who is truly trustworthy, or not?

If you don’t know, then ask this question: what does you heart and mind focus in upon more than any other thing?  When things go well, do you give thanks to God, or do you reason that it was your hard work or maybe even just good luck that brought about the positive situation?  And when things get tough, do you work to find a solution, do you turn to pleasures of this life to ease the pain, or do you trust God and believe He is still in control and will bring good out of the situation? (Romans 8:28)

You know, in its very essence, being a follower of Jesus is quite simple.  He says himself that what is really important is simply this:  love God with all that is you, and love your neighbor as you would love yourself.  (Matthew 22:37-38)  That is what I would call an “active faith”.  That is what has been called “Basic Christianity”.  So what would you say?  Are you a “follower of Jesus”?

(Thank you Steve for an excellent sermon.)

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