Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Monday Musings ... on Wednesday

Sunday was a very good day. We had a spirit in worship. We had people responding to the message and prayer around the altar. We had good attendance. We had a good small group on Sunday evening. It was a very good day. I am very encouraged by the words I am hearing and the actions I am seeing from people as they wrestle with the question of whether they are a fan or a follower of Christ?

This week was message #4 in the series "Not A Fan" from Luke 9:23-24. This week we examined the fact that to be a follower of Christ you must deny yourself. This goes against the teaching and example of our culture. I knew someone who weighed about twice what they should who told me "I would do anything to lose weight, except eat less." A lot of people attempt to follow Jesus in the same way. They say they will do anything, give up anything, to follow Jesus "except..." What is your except?

Matthew 19:16-22 tells of a rich young man who desired to follow Jesus until Jesus asked him to give everything up. Verse 22 is one of saddest in all of scripture, "When he heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth." Contrast that with Matthew 13:44 and the man who got rid of everything to gain a great treasure, it is says "in his joy he went and sold all he had". The one who kept what he had was sad and the one who gave it up was joyful.

Denying self requires obedience to God's Word and will. Complete obedience, not 'I will except ...' type of obedience. Where are you trying to make an exception in your obedience to Christ? Denying self requires sacrifice and surrender. The rich young man was faced with the choice of keeping his stuff or following Jesus. To follow Jesus will require you to walk away from a different path. One of the clearest testimonies of your commitment to Christ is when you sacrificially deny yourself.

There are no exceptions to this denial of self. Fans will try to follow Jesus without denying themselves anything. They will compartmentalize areas in their life. As Kyle Idleman said, "Jesus doesn't give us the option of selective commitment." You are either committed to him or you are not.

The Bible describes a follower as a slave. Note what that means. A slave has no possessions, they all belong to the owner or master. A slave has no rights, the master has them all. A slave has on personal identity, their identity is in the master. Following Jesus means he is your master and Lord. Your identity is not in your name, your family, your employment or possessions. Rather your identity is in Christ.

Calling Jesus Lord requires you to be his slave/servant. This is a choice to deny self and serve completely at the discretion of your Lord. That is a great definition of a follower.

Are you denying yourself anything? Are you a fan, or a follower?


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