Thursday, November 1, 2012

Are You A Fan Or A Follower of Christ?

Luke 14:25-33;Romans 8:31; Psalm 37:25; Romans 7:19-20; Matthew 7:26-27; Job 2:9-10; Exodus 34:14; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 3:7-9; Psalm 27:13; 1 Chronicles 4:10; John 3:16

We are walking in today: Are You A Fan Or A Follower of Christ?

 

Luke 14:25-33 25) And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

This morning we have an excerpt from a sermon from Ronnie Knight--http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/jesus-wants-followers-not-fans-ronnie-knight-sermon-on-discipleship-109757.asp?Page=1

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Football fans do crazy things. We will pack up our RV’s and head to the parking lot of our favorite ball team so that we can grill out and watch the game on television when we could have done that same thing at home on our own patio.

Fans are finicky. When things are going good for the team we fill the stands and cheer them on. But, when the chips are down we criticize every play. We bad mouth the players and the coach. We talk about the way it used to be. Fans come in frenzies. They feed on the excitement and vanish when the difficult times come.

The sad truth is that many Christians today resemble football fans. They rally around the excitement and they run from the work. They encourage in the good times and criticize when things are not going so well. They fill the pew and wait to be entertained.

Jesus understood this. We find Him on His way to Jerusalem and a crowd has gathered around Him. In fact the Bible says that "great multitudes" were all around Him. When Jesus saw these multitudes He turned and said to them in essence, "I’m not looking for fans; I’m looking for followers."

Jesus is saying to us today what He said to those multitudes in His day. It’s easy to be a fan. Fans are here today and gone tomorrow. Following takes commitment. Following takes sacrifice. Unfortunately the church today is filled with fans rather than followers. We have people in our pews that are fans of the building they gather in. There are those in church today who are fans of the preacher or the worship leader. There are those who are even fans of Jesus, but they have never made the transition to become a follower of Jesus. It is time for you to declare your loyalty. It is time for you to decide if you’re going to be a fan or a follower of Jesus Christ. Today we are going to look at several truths that will help us understand what it takes to become a follower of Christ rather than a fan.

First, we must realize that there is a cost to following Jesus Christ. This cost is two fold. It begins with a supreme commitment. Jesus said to these multitudes, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14.26 NKJV)." We hear these words and we say wait just one minute. Did I read that correctly? Did Jesus just tell me that if I wanted to follow Him that I had to hate those who were closest to me? This seems to be the complete opposite of earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away form the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 13.6-10 NKJV)."

God is serious about our commitment to Him. So much so that He commanded the children of Israel to "kill" any one who even tried to entice them away even if that someone was a family member or a close friend. Do not misunderstand. I am not suggesting that you should go around killing people. I am merely suggesting to you that God intends for our relationship with Him to be sacred and first in our lives. I want you to understand that you and I must be willing to forsake all and follow Him. If we want to be followers rather than fans we must make the supreme commitment to put Him first place in our lives.

This cost of following Christ begins with a supreme commitment and continues with a supreme sacrifice. Jesus said to these multitudes, "Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14.26 NKJV)." What does it mean to "bear His cross"? We often hear people talk about the problems of life and suggest that those are simply the crosses we have to bear. However, I believe that we are missing the greater truth of this concept.

The cross of Christ represents sacrifice. Jesus came to the cross because of sin. Paul tells us that the "wages of sin is death (Romans 6.23 NKJV)." So, because of sin someone had to die. That someone should have been you or me. However, because of our depravity even if we had die on the cross we would not have freed ourselves from sins penalty nor would we have appeased the wrath of God towards sin. This is true because we are tainted with the disease of sin and the sacrifice for sin must be perfect with out blemish. This is the picture painted for us in the Old Testament sacrificial system. The law required perfection. The sacrifices brought to the temple were to be as perfect as they could be. Yet, no human ever created since Adam and Eve is perfect because of our depraved nature. Therefore, Jesus had to come and live the perfect life we could not so that He could become the "propitiation" for our sin.

So, the cross points to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ who became our payment for sin. Jesus died on the cross for our sin. Therefore, we must join Him in that death to sin so that we can live for Him. That’s what carrying the cross is all about. Carrying the cross is to "reckon [yourself] to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6.11 NKJV)." It is to know, "that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should not longer be slaves of sin (Romans 6.6NKJV)."

Carrying the cross is dedicating yourself to the Lord now and forever. It is when you determine that you will "not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12.2 NKJV)."

Being a follower comes with a cost. If we want to be followers rather than fans we must make the supreme commitment forsake all and the supreme sacrifice to turn from sin and self so that we can be fully committed to Him. Secondly, there is a concern that must be expressed. An important word reoccurs through out this passage. It is the word "cannot". We see this word three times in this passage. It occurs in verses 26, 27, and 33. Jesus says to these multitudes that those who do not come after Him with this level of commitment "cannot be His disciples."
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Today we are asking the question, you a follower or a fan?  God came to tell us this week that we have favor over our lives!  In that favor there is long suffering.  We have to get up and bear our our crosses.  A choice has to be made.  God wants to know where do you stand?  Are you truly committed to God or to man?  Are you elevating the pastors or what goes on in your church?  If you are a fan, you are only there when things are going well.  Really being a follower, you will sacrifice, suffer and pick up your cross to follow after Him!  He is Jehovah Jireh!  No matter what it looks like, will your response be, though He slays me yet will I trust Him!  That you will keep getting up and seeking Him first!  Be a follower, not a fan.  Stand on His word, with all hell breaking loose in your life.  Will you still follow God?  With no job, no money, or an illness will you still follow God?    The God who has promised to never leave nor forsake you? 
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  Our God has gone before us and made the crooked places straight!  He will not put more on us than we can bear!  Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  Just follow God!  With things falling apart--just follow God!  We will follow God, fiveamprayer!  We will sacrifice.  We will submit to Your will and Your way.  We follow You, God and walk in forgiveness.  We crucify our flesh--Romans 7:19-20 19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  His grace is sufficient!  He will never change, stand on His word!  Stand and stand therefore!  We are to pray without ceasing!  Pick up your cross and follow Him.  Deny yourself--be quiet, be still.  No longer have only a form of godliness.  Are you crucifying your flesh daily?  Be quiet, life and death is in the tongue.  He knows you will be a cheering fan when things are going well, but will you stand and remain when things are not looking so good?  Sometimes He will strip you of people and things to see if you will stand.  To find out if you are a follower.  God will find out what you are made of.  When some of us would say that it is so bad that you can't even pray about it.  Sounds like a fan to me!  Matthew 7:26-27  26) And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.  We have to make and have a commitment to seek more and more of God's word and seek to put that word into action in our lives--that would be making that change from a fan to a follower.  Because the winds and the rain will come, but you will not be able to stand if you are not building on the solid rock of Christ!  This also leads back to trust, are you trusting that you are better equipped or have greater knowledge than the Most High God?  Without God, you were building and re-building on sinking sand!  We have got to know that the joy of the Lord is our strength; that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  It is time for a self check, are you a follower or a fan?  The winds of life will blow and the storms will rise but are you still pursuing God?  Are you a fair weather Christian?  Some times God will say, have you considered my servant Job?  Do you really stand on Job's response to his situation--though He slays me, yet will I trust Him.  Job is a great example of a follower, we know that a fan would have given up possibly before getting that poor advise from his wife--Job 2:9-10 9) Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10) But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.  God must be our first and most important person in our lives!  He is our all in all!  In our marriages when you have made your spouse your god, God comes to bring about some things for you to return to Him, that you will correct what is wrong.  God is making things hard for you so that your eyes will be opened to your error.   Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.  Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   The God we serve works all things together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.  There is favor over your life, and it comes with suffering.  Ask yourself if you are a fan or a follower?  Hallelujah God!  We can not be His disciple if we keep putting other things first.  A tree is known by the fruit that it bears.  Check the DNA of those around you.  Do you have the same Father?  Are they covered and sealed under the perfect blood of Christ?  That is why there are people falling out of your life.  Don't waste time in investigation, let it go.  In this walk you will loose family, friends and stuff following after Christ.  Philippians 3:7-9 7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.  Thank You God for having us to look at ourselves today.  Fiveamprayer, take time out today to look at your self.  Must Jesus bear the cross alone, no there is a cross for you and for me.  Hallelujah God!  O, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Psalm 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Follow Him.  As Jacob said, I will not let thee go unless you bless me!  1 Chronicles 4:10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.  Follow Him.  It is gonna take everything that you have.  We are His earthen vessels, a living sacrifice unto Him.  That we stand on His word and say, I'll go where You send me.  That I am not leaning to my own understanding, but trusting all my ways to You!  Hallelujah God!  We lift up fiveamprayer, that You are telling them to get up and follow ME.  It is revelation time.  He is seeking to find out if you are a fan or a follower?  They will be trying to give you the mark of the beast. We must be like the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who told the king that they would not bow even if they will be thrown into the fiery furnace.  Standing and trusting that the God that you serve will deliver you out of any and every thing that would come against you!  Follow. Him.  That we will follow Him through the fire and the flood--no matter what comes.  We lift up prayer requests, for healing that it is already done, by Your stripes we are already healed! Thank You God for sending Your word to heal us!  Amen!  Following God takes sacrifice, it is God that is bringing you through not you yourself.  We come to repent, some of us have been acting  like fans and not followers--be fully committed to He who has brought us out of the darkness into His marvelous light!  We repent for complaining, we serve Jehovah Jireh!  The Almighty is who supplies all of our needs.  Often times we have not because we ask not, being followers we study the word to gain understanding of how to line up with His word.  Fans will merely sit there while things are good, not really putting forth any effort.  Followers are getting up to seek out time with God, are in a study of His word and looking to share the love of Christ with others.  We must press on, gaining new ground every day.  Hallelujah God!  

We seal this prayer in His precious blood, by His Spirit:  I am a follower of Christ!

Welcome to the overflow...

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  We are to deny ourselves, to pick up our crosses and to follow Him.  Amen and glory to Your name!  It is a process, you will make it hold on!  Some how, some way you will get thought this!  Hold on to His word, that word that never fails and stands forever!  Thank You for Your word God!  Hallelujah!  Thank You for Sarah Sanke who birthed this word in conversation with Jeanette on yesterday.  God knows just what you need and will send it to you just at the right time!  It is self examination time.  Visit us on facebook and have a blessed day! 


Musical Selection
Fred Hammond, Show Me Your Face

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